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15 Phrases Unsuccessful People Always Use That You Need To Avoid

15 Phrases Unsuccessful People Always Use That You Need To Avoid

So, you have a great idea.

Awesome!

But if you want to make that idea into reality, that’s not all you need to succeed.

Whether you’re going to make it or not doesn’t only depend on your wits and good ideas. In fact, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The other 90% is your state of mind, your resolve, and your communication with others. Successful people know this—and that’s why you’ll never hear them say any of these 15 phrases.

1. “That’s impossible.”

Unless you’re talking about pigs literally flying (and hey, who knows what science will come up with, nonbelievers!), there is nothing that is impossible. You actually can do anything you put your mind to, with enough determination and effort. Sometimes, it just takes a new perspective.

But claiming that something is impossible when it totally is possible is just limiting your own potential for success.

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2. “I can do it all by myself.”

You can do anything you set your mind to, but sometimes, you need the help of others. Teamwork is essential with certain tasks; or, sometimes, you just need the support of others to help you achieve. Only unsuccessful people think they can do everything all by themselves 100% of the time.

3. “That won’t happen for me.”

Say you want to apply for your dream job. But 100 other people around the country have applied, and only one person can get in. In a situation like this, this phrase is deadly.

Only unsuccessful people say this, because it’s a phrase that rationalizes letting go of your dreams and goals. One person will get that job. Why not you?

4. “Jane is so ahead of me in life.”

This is a phrase that floats through the head of many, myself included. It’s hard to see people around you who seem like they’ve just got everything together when you’re not even sure which way is up.

Successful people know that this doesn’t have to do with their self worth. Rather, it’s about what stage they’re in during life. Successful people just use those ahead of them as inspiration keep on going—not as a point of comparison.

These people are simply at a different stage than you are, or perhaps on a totally different path than you. Don’t compare your Chapter Two to somebody else’s Chapter Nine.

5. “I have a problem with that.”

Sometimes, roadblocks will come; a member of your team will need a few days to rest, or a business you’re working with will take longer than you expected to complete a task. Though it’s important to stand up for yourself, it’s also important to be flexible. Getting angry when things don’t go exactly to plan just drains you and the people you’re working with.

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6. “Don’t forget the details.”

When an artist is drawing a model, she doesn’t start the whole piece by obsessing over the fingernails. She makes a rough sketch of the whole body first, then starts to make it a little more realistic, and then worries about little details at the end.

When a concept feels bigger than life itself, and you’re concerned about all of the little details, it will seem overwhelming to your teammates—and you’ll just be seen as nit-picky. Details are important, but they’ll come in time. Keep everything in perspective, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

7. “I like my own idea.”

You might have come up with a great idea, but someone else could have an idea to add to it that makes it unbelievably excellent. On the other hand, you might have a good idea, but an aspect of your idea doesn’t work and is holding it back. It’s important to be open-minded.

8. “I don’t need your input.”

Yes, you do. You always need input. Only unsuccessful people claim that they don’t need advice and constructive criticism. Why? Because successful people know that they aren’t perfect, and they thus value the opinions of others who may see a flaw or a hole in their plan.

9. “I already know that.”

So someone tries to help you out with a piece of knowledge you already know or have already noticed. What good will snapping back this quip really do? This is a statement that simply hurts the morale of the team. It’s never been constructive.

Successful people know that, and they avoid it at all costs. Something they might say instead is simply, “Yes, thank you.” You don’t want to frighten anybody into not giving you the constructive criticism you need.

10. “Let me check my schedule.”

Let me start this off by saying that you don’t want to burn yourself out. I’m not saying that you should say yes to everything that comes your way.

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Rather, I’m saying that this statement makes it seem as though you don’t have time for someone. If someone needs to meet with you or is trying to help you, saying this phrase will make them feel as though they’re unimportant, and you don’t value their time—that you’re just trying to fit them into your already-crowded schedule.

A better response might be, “Yes, that would be great! Let me figure out the best day I can do that, and I’ll get back to you.” Positivity is key.

11. “You must be wrong about that.”

This is a statement successful people always try to avoid. It’s not only dismissing somebody’s point of view, but doing so immediately, without even looking into the problem. You know what they say about assuming!

This person came to you giving you this advice. They might be right—and even if they aren’t, they were simply trying to help you. A better response would be, “I’ll look into it—thanks for telling me.”

12. “I can’t.”

Again, this doesn’t mean you should say yes to everything. You’re only human.

However, this is a phrase that should be negated from your vocabulary when you’re trying to achieve a goal. It’s the same as “that’s impossible”— except you’re using it referring directly to yourself. If you don’t think you can, why should anyone else?

Simply saying “I can’t” is dismissing a whole realm of possibilities. If it’s something truly important that will help you to be successful, yes, you can. If not, say, “That’s something we can consider later in the game.”

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13. “Nobody can see my work until it’s finished.”

As a writer, if someone asks to see my work, this phrase is at the tip of my tongue—but now, I hold it back. If you’ve got a good idea, great. But once you start to work on it, it’s important to let others you trust see it.

After all, a whole new perspective is important, because they might see a gaping hole in your plan that you didn’t—one that makes everything you did afterwards null and void.

14. “There’s no time for me to relax.”

Did you know Bill Gates loves to play golf? Warren Buffet plays the ukulele. Meryl Streep spends a huge amount of her time knitting. Leslie Knope has time to eat a lot of waffles.

Life might seem busy, but successful people know that it’s essential to allow yourself time to wind down with an activity that has nothing to do with your goals. It’s important to recharge and let your mind relax every now and then so you don’t burn out.

15. “It’s not fair.”

Only unsuccessful people use this phrase. Not only is this phrase harping on the negative, but it’s attributing any failures or botched attempts to outside sources—to fate.

It’s not about what’s fair and what’s not. And successful people know that sometimes, things don’t work out the way you think they will. But they move on and keep trying, while the unsuccessful plop down and pout.

Everybody fails. But you’re only truly failing if you don’t get back up and try again.

Featured photo credit: lifeis_caps via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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