Avoid Neutral Statements

Jeopardy Knowledge sails on the Neutral Statements

What is a neutral statement?

the neutral statement “is compatible with any expression of either approval or disapproval of the facts which the statement claims to report”

A.Phillips | Oxford Press | Analysis |Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jan., 1964)


In other words, neutral statements don’t mean anything. You don’t take a stand. It’s hiding by linguistics.

They work in environments based on fear. If you are always ready to “cover your ass,” there is no better way than saying something that means nothing. No one gets mad, and you have wiggle room.

As a result, ambiguity, the natural enemy of direction, has a “run of the place.”  While everyone is saying nothing, the connection to work dwindles. Why would I care? Nothing means anything, and anything means nothing.

If you need an example, take a look at many companies mission statements.

“It is our business to continue to enthusiastically revolutionize revolutionary leadership skills to stay competitive in tomorrow’s world.”

Mission Statement Generator 

That means absolutely nothing. This mission statement could work for IBM, Nintendo, Berkshire Hathaway, or Wal-Mart.

Those are four completely different companies.

Leaders set direction by making their statements say something.

Don’t be a wandering generality.

Is it falsifiable?

Just cut through the nonsense

If you want to discuss, argue, or debate a topic, it is helpful to ask each other how they could be wrong.

This question lets you know, immediately, if someone is curious or if they just want to vent.

Venting doesn’t help you reflect; it just keeps you on an emotional treadmill. Discussions like this are in the same boat. If it can’t “be wrong” then there is no room to grow.

If they can’t answer the question, just walk away.

You’ll save yourself a lot of time.

On the flip side, you better be able to answer it too.

Their ego isn’t the only one in the room.

Ego is Isolation

When you “rise above,” you go alone

Ego is tricky.

It takes on many forms. It starts as confidence, then can turn into many things, including pride, arrogance, and fear.

It’s goal, when unchecked, is to separate us from everyone else. To make us “special.”

Not special because of our contributions or special because of the value we create.

You are unique because you are you, and nothing more.  This process is dangerous.

That separation disconnects us from the energy, knowledge, and appreciation of everyone else. We lose it. Although we don’t separate physically (we still exist in our space) we miss the tools to help us become self-aware or set direction.

As a leader, this is stagnation.

Don’t get stuck in place.

Don’t Sound “Smart” Trust Your Ignorance

Admitting your ignorance opens up a new world of possibilities

The allure of sounding smart is hard to ignore.

When we’re scared of being wrong, we hypnotize ourselves.

That hypnosis lets you off the hook.

If you sound “smart” then you are free to feed your ego. You don’t need to know anything because you “know it all.” Don’t have to trust anyone or be vulnerable because of your ” intelligence.”

That is your ego talking.

As a leader, you’ll choke the creativity out of your team and put them into “Jeopardy Knowledge” mode.

It’s ok to admit your ignorance. 

The moment you do, you signal that you trust the person across from you.

Then, magic can happen.

Relaunching the Video Blog! Life as Usual Season 2

Back to Wednesday Multimedia Posts

The video blog is back!

YouTube: Subscribe!

Last year I did an experiment and launched a video blog series.

Every week, I focused on shipping a video on a particular topic. After 16 episodes, I decided to take a break, put together the lessons I learned, and call in a few favors to ratchet up the production quality.

The result: Life as Usual Season 2.

Each Wednesday I will promote the new video for the week, along with some easy ways to share.

This form of post, as always, is a work in progress, and the format is due to change (Next Wednesday will look a little different)

Until then, I am happy to have this out and welcome to the second season of the Life as Usual Video blog.


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