Make decisions and establish priorities with your perspective, influenced by experiences, values, and worldview. Never Say Whatever offers guidance on effective communication in business through simple yet impactful strategies. Moran argues poor communication undermines objectives and wastes opportunities.
The book stresses the importance of clarity, empathy and brevity when interacting internally and externally. Readers learn techniques like structured responses, focused questions and concisely conveying ideas. Moran emphasizes elevating discussions through active listening.
Full of relatable examples, the book proved a compelling read for professionals. While some content covered familiar ground, overall insights will benefit anyone seeking to enhance workplace interactions. Never Say Whatever serves as a reminder that communication is an essential yet often overlooked professional skill.
In summary, Never Say Whatever provides guidance to enhance communication in business. Call to action: Continue reading to learn techniques to bring clarity, empathy and brevity to everyday workplace interactions.
Business, leadership, self-help, communication, skills, management, marketing, career, productivity, success, coaching, workplace, entrepreneurship, sales, innovation
Many people take a “whatever” attitude toward everything, but not author Richard Moran. He contends that this flat, non-response to all situations and decisions, big and small, is a waste. In his eyes, people who don’t care about their own choices condemn themselves to inaction and rob their lives of meaning. In this “anti-whatever workbook,” Moran calls for a total about-face. He argues passionately that caring and trying to improve the world through your actions and positive decisions separates people from beasts. Do you care? Or are you detached or without direction? Moran is here to explain how and why to start caring, making intelligent decisions and acting on them.
- Saying “whatever” communicates disengagement and dismissal.
- Intentional people understand that even minor decisions can be vital.
- High school students are rarely taught how to make decisions.
- Smart decision-makers are self-aware and trust their guts.
- People who say “whatever” don’t damage only themselves; they often damage their organization.
- Entrepreneurs can’t afford to have a “whatever” attitude.
- “Whatever” people aggravate everyone.
- “Whatever” people often come to regret their careless attitude.
- Good advisors can help you make sound decisions.
- Your choices shape your future, so be decisive.
Saying “whatever” communicates disengagement and dismissal.
Every year, Marist College in New York conducts a survey to determine the most hated word Americans use in ordinary conversation. Each year, one word always wins: “whatever” – the three-syllable manifesto of complaint, lack of thought or consideration, and outright dismissal of effort, teamwork and cooperation.
“One can’t forever stand on the shore. At some point, filled with indecision, skepticism, reservation and doubt, you either jump in or concede that life is forever elsewhere.” (Arthur Miller)
Saying “whatever” is not just a casual dismissal of the problem or situation in front of you; it signals that you don’t care – an attitude that doesn’t affect only you, the speaker, but everyone around you. “Whatever” is a wishy-washy, risk-averse dodge that impedes or denies commitment and delays to make decisions. And, the fact is that your decisions matter. Choices and the actions you take in response to those choices make your life meaningful. You may not be a CEO or team leader, but you are in charge of your life and career, an opportunity you don’t want to waste.
Intentional people understand that even minor decisions can be vital.
People who never say “whatever” are intentional, engaged, self-aware, accountable and responsible. They make choices, own them, and follow through with proactive, aligned behavior. They are decisive about significant choices, minor choices and every other sort of choice in between. They understand that the decisions they make throughout every day have long-lasting, cumulative effects on their lives.
While decision-making often feels like a minefield, in most cases, you can simplify your choices by characterizing them in one of three broad ways: stick with the status quo, make minor adjustments or do a complete about-face. For instance, if you are unhappy with your job, you can either: A. Stay with your current employer and try to improve your situation. B. Seek other employment that would suit you better. Or, C: Quit the corporate world altogether and move to a tropical island. Many people will pick option A. Most should probably choose option B, and a tiny handful will find fulfillment via option C. Whether your choice is life-changing or not, address your career with forethought, intention and purpose. When your intentions are clear, so are your choices.
“In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.” (Sigmund Freud)
When you don’t have clear intentions, you can’t take clear actions. You may find yourself stymied or paralyzed, unable to find a direct path forward. Intentions always point the way to actions and results. For example, if you intend to secure a raise or a promotion, you must ask for it. If you intend to give a great speech, you must write it carefully and practice it many times. If you intend to make intelligent decisions, you must establish a deliberative, repeatable process that makes the most of your personal strengths and delivers sound choices.
Imagine an airline pilot who responds “whatever” when an air traffic controller offers information on flight and weather conditions and tells the pilot which runway to use for landing. Michael Huerta, former director of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), says its mission is simple and clear: Make sure the same number of planes take off and land each day. A “whatever” attitude won’t get airplanes safely out of the sky.
High school students are rarely taught how to make decisions.
It’s no surprise that “whatever” is a much-used word in today’s high schools. Teachers teach students literature, chemistry, physics, algebra and foreign languages, but they seldom instruct them about how to make smart decisions and take focused action in response to those choices. Such decision-making is the opposite of “whatever.”
“When it comes to safety and other important decisions, ‘good enough’ should not ever be one of the choices.”
Schools should teach students the basics of intelligent decision-making. Kids need to understand that purposeful lives are chockfull of eventful decisions. Without this vital skill, making major choices – such as whether to go to college and where, what career to pursue, and whether to marry or have children – will seem impossible.
The first lesson in a decision-making course should be: never say “whatever.” One easy way to start thinking about how choices lead to outcomes is to frame your options as “if/then” scenarios: If you do (or don’t do) X, then Y will happen; or, if you do (or don’t) want X to happen, you need to do Y.
How important is good decision-making? In a 10-year study of more than 1,000 companies, Bain & Company determined that organizations that routinely make timely, intelligent decisions outperform those that appear indecisive.
On an individual basis, the “two-minute rule” – which demands that people gather their thoughts, weigh their options and make decisions within two minutes – demonstrates the power of quick, effective decision-making when you have a small decision to make. Conversely, you must give the appropriate amount of time and consideration to all major decisions.
Smart decision-makers are self-aware and trust their guts.
People who can make intelligent decisions are generally self-aware and comfortable with themselves. They know who they are, and they understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They are in touch with their emotions, knowing that their feelings affect their thinking and decision-making.
“What’s the big picture? In the course of human events, how important is this decision? Your experience, values and worldview will inform your perspective [and] enable you to set priorities and make decisions.”
Self-aware people recognize that they must live with the consequences of their decisions and actions. They carefully think things through before acting and always try to do their best. However, self-aware people aren’t afraid to make “gut” decisions under the right circumstances. One successful venture capitalist says that when he’s deciding whether to lend money to someone, he studies that person with great care. If he perceives the person as passionate and driven, he will invest in his or her company. When you face an important choice, heed what your instincts are trying to tell you.
“Whatever” people damage their careers and their organizations.
A “whatever” attitude can cause great harm to your career and is a destructive headache for organizations. Leaders, in particular, can’t shy away from decision-making without losing their colleagues’ respect and causing problems for their team, themselves and others. “Whatever” leaders avoid risk and accountability, but in so doing, they leave their companies directionless. They undermine their people’s sense of purpose and encourage them to adopt “whatever” attitudes themselves.
“Effective leaders are good decision-makers in part because they are willing to take the risk of making a decision.”
Even if you don’t occupy an official leadership role, your work-related decisions still matter immensely. Employees with “whatever” attitudes can easily damage their companies’ operations and reputations. By avoiding decision-making and accountability, “whatever” people render themselves less likely to enjoy satisfying careers. Your skills can’t compensate for having an “I don’t care” attitude in a job interview. And a “whatever” attitude toward your salary will keep you underpaid.
If you are unsure of what choice to make when facing a work or career-related dilemma, try gathering more information. Decisions often become easier and clearer when you empower yourself with knowledge.
Entrepreneurs can’t afford to have a “whatever” attitude.
“Whatever” people seldom succeed, and successful people never have don’t-care attitudes. This certainly applies to entrepreneurs, who must be nonstop decision-making machines.
“Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, some people say ‘What happened’?” (Casey Stengel)
People who run their own businesses can never skirt making timely decisions, often choices that cost money. Entrepreneurs have to care; they must be ready to pick an option and act quickly and efficiently. They often use pattern recognition as a tool to clarify their decision-making. For instance, when a challenge confronts them, they draw analogies between that challenge and past ones. They consider what they did before and the results of that choice, and then they can apply those insights to the present situation.
“Whatever” people aggravate everybody.
People who won’t engage don’t merely mess up their own lives and diminish themselves in others’ eyes, they can be purveyors of trouble and strife at work and at home.
“Any decision I make is the biggest decision of my life.” (basketball star Carmelo Anthony)
These troublemakers include housemates, married or otherwise, who can’t make timely decisions. The problem is that living together, like working together, involves innumerable big and small decisions. When it comes to small, daily decisions, it often helps to remember three precepts:
- What you choose to do today often affects what’s possible in the future.
- Small but bad choices – like developing a daily fast food habit – can snowball, creating more significant issues like ill health and weight gain.
- Every choice creates a “ripple effect” which can affect other aspects of your life in positive and negative ways.
“Whatever” people often come to regret their careless attitudes.
Regret often kicks in when people suffer the consequences of failing to make good decisions. In The Power of Regret, author Daniel Pink states, “Long-term regrets often stem from decisions we did not make.” Such non-action often takes the form of shrugging and saying “whatever,” which expresses an attitude that often leads to regrets.
“When all seems lost, maybe it is. Be realistic, sometimes the captain needs to abandon the ship. When you can see the villagers coming toward the castle with torches and pitchforks, it is time to explore alternative options.”
Every decision involves some degree of risk. You may regret some of the risks you take. Not everyone is ready to go along with Virgin CEO and adventurer Richard Branson’s view that taking chances allows you to discover the full extent of your abilities and, thus, enjoy yourself more.
However, unlike Branson, most of your choices don’t come with ruinous risk levels. Whether you make a good decision that helps you accomplish your objectives and makes you look great or a bad decision that makes you look inept, deciding to do something is almost always better than choosing to do nothing. Changing directions is a better option than having no direction at all.
Good advisors can help you make sound decisions.
Decision-making is critical, but you don’t have to do it alone. Consulting with trusted advisors can make a crucial difference. Your initial tendency may be to turn to family and friends for decision-making advice, but they may not be objective. Instead, try to recruit advisors with experience in the specific arena where you seek guidance.
Create a “personal board of directors.” Include wise people who tell the truth and aren’t wishy-washy. A network of diverse advisors can give you numerous expert perspectives.
Your choices shape your future, so be decisive.
Using the word “whatever” indicates that you don’t care. This is no way to go through life. Why waste your time on a “whatever” existence? If you cling to an un-caring attitude now, in time you may end up thinking, “I should have paid attention and made a decision.”
“If you stop saying ‘whatever,’ your life will not be full of beautiful flying unicorns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow…but cumulatively, if you add up all the times you avoided saying ‘whatever’ and made real choices [your life will] be better.”
Consider that in large parts of the underdeveloped world, people don’t have the luxury of making decisions about the important factors that shape their lives. Sam Alemayhu grew up in a small, impoverished village in Ethiopia where people had little personal control, but he refused to embrace a “whatever” worldview.
Alemayhu chose to leave his village. After moving through numerous refugee camps, he emigrated to America and later graduated from the Stanford University School of Engineering. Today, Alemayhu is a respected businessman and investor working to help both African governments and African citizens move beyond passive acceptance of their status quo. His accomplishments are an inspiration to always give a darn, even about the little things because they can add up to big things. Be decisive. Care about your choices. Never say “whatever.”
About the Author
Richard A. Moran, PhD hosts the CBS syndicated radio program, “In the Workplace.” He is an author, business leader and venture capitalist.