Archive for October, 2009


Got a problem with someone? Try saying, “I’m sorry.”

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Here’s something you can take to the bank: If you’re having some sort of trouble with someone—conflict, tension, bad blood, whatever—nothing gets things back on track like a good old-fashioned apology.

“But I didn’t do anything wrong!” you say, “It wasn’t my fault.”

I understand. And I didn’t say it was. But who’s at fault is not the point. The point is that the relationship has gone bad, and that’s no good for either of you.

Besides, I’m not saying you should apologize for whatever it is you’re disagreeing about. In fact, doing so might do more harm than good. The most important thing here is that whatever you say has to be authentic and heartfelt. Apologizing for something that you didn’t actually do is likely to be neither. And it could even be seen as being manipulative, which is even worse.

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Pen Island

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Okay, so you want to start a business selling pens online. Sounds like a good enough idea. So, what’s a good name for your company? How about “Pen Island”? Not sure what pens have to do with islands, but it’s a surprising combination of images that seems to stick in the mind. And since pens are fairly commoditized, a catchy name is a big plus. So, all right then. Pen Island it is! Perfectly good name.

Except, wait, you’re going to be an online business. Right. So, your URL is especially important. Okay, let’s see about that. Hmm. “Pen Island”? Good. Oh dear. Maybe not so good.

When I first heard of that site, well, I laughed. A lot. (It’s for real, by the way. Or for sure at .net.) But after that, I thought, “How is that possible? How did they miss that? Did they not run it past anyone?”


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Mentor or Communication Coach?

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I got a nice note back from a Don’t Just Talk reader the other day. The note basically said, “Really enjoyed the book, thanks. One thing though: Rather than coaching, I’ve always relied on mentoring, and recommend mentoring to other leaders too. Just another thought.”

First, let me say that this is a really good guy who I like a lot. He’s a senior-level leader with a large healthcare organization. But to suggest that mentoring is a substitute for communication coaching, well, to quote Marge from the movie Fargo, “I’m not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou.”

Consider this excerpt from Don’t Just Talk:

“It might seem like getting feedback would be enough to help you make the changes you want, but feedback only goes so far. Here are some of the differences between feedback and coaching:

Feedback doesn’t offer solutions. It’s easy for someone to say whether they like something or not. Having suggestions for what to do differently is another matter. Coaches have suggestions.

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