The Most Important Words in Business

09-19-2017    Thirty five years ago, when I truly believed that I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I was 30, a gentleman–who I held in highest esteem–shared his most sage business wisdom with me.  I remember it—as if it were—well, yesterday. 

He said to me, “Alan, my boy, remember these words for the rest of your life.  The most important words in business are:  ‘Your Loan is approved.’  Against everything else, these words set apart how the results you achieve will be measured.”

Now, I didn’t train to be a Finance guru.  Although I’ve acted as CFO of one company, and am CFO of a company now, it certainly didn’t take me 35 years to recognize that the times have changed and there are certainly more important words than “Your Loan is approved.”  I’m sure you have your most important words.

Truth be known, in my youth and impetuousness, it took several of my loans not being approved for the realization that maybe the projects I thought were great weren’t so great after all.  Or maybe they were and simply became missed opportunities because of lender neglect.  Maybe it took those nefarious bank “committees”…meeting behind closed doors and never sharing what their guidelines for approval might be…to alter my thinking.  Or maybe, like I’ve said for years, we all professionally mature at different stages of growth and development in our career, and I’ve just learned to accept that everything isn’t successful.  I certainly have.

So I just don’t think “Your Loan is approved” is the be-all and end-all of major business words anymore.

Since I’ve rejected “Your Loan is approved,” what do I think is the most important business saying of today? 

Let’s do it

Not, “Just do it,” like the Nike slogan.  “Just do it,” for me, is a great advertising and marketing slogan that connotes action and success.  And success beyond anything accomplished previously.

But “Let’s do it” connotes more than just action and success.

“Let’s” is a great word.  It’s a positive mover. It speaks to you as an individual, to work as a member of a team. You and me. And others. It calls those of like mind and like direction and like opportunity together into a cogent and functional group.  It dictates action.  It also is a contraction for “Let Us.”  Not just me, as an I.  But us, as a team.

“Do” is an action verb.  It transcends time and presupposes that there might be pitfalls and failures, but it’s going to be accomplished. 

“It” is whatever you want to make “it” out to be.  Is it growth and development?  Seizing exemplary profit from failure?  Building financial wealth from the ashes of previous creative disasters?  Which of the key result areas does it address?  It addresses all of them.  

Whether “Let’s do it” is used by John Belushi in Animal House when he’s rallying the fraternity to reject their expulsion from the campus by the university, or used by the CEO when he’s attempting to get the employees behind a new set of goals or new direction, or used by Princess Leia as she and General Ackbar consider the attack on the Death Star, or even by the solo entrepreneur when he’s working within his community to support his project, “Let’s do it” is meant to give rise to success and become the embodiment of making something successful.

Much more so than “Your Loan is approved.”

What are your Most Important Words in Business?


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