2018 In No Uncertain Terms
10 things we’ll say to usher in an honorable year.
As a business called Honor Code, we make a resolution daily, not yearly: to be honorable in our work and actions. But year-end is a perfect time to renew it with an actual game plan. And ours involves words. (Bet you saw that one coming.) These are 10 phrases we’ll whip out in the year ahead in order to be as honorable as we possibly can, personally and professionally
- I actually don’t like that. We will use this when we hear a joke that insults women or any other group of people in a professional or party setting. We will not laugh nervously or say nothing, implicitly saying it’s ok.
- I don’t think it’s a good fit. We will use this phrase to say no to a prospective client when our gut is telling us s/he won’t be responsive or isn’t open to new ideas.
- No. People talk about how awesome it is to say yes. The year of yes, the place of yes, yes, you can! But we’re good at yes, sometimes too good. If no is more honest, we want to say no. (See, e.g., above.) No is harder. It’s often gutsier. If a client asks if we respond to an idea, for example, we’ll tell the truth. It’s why we’re there.
- ________. There’s a truth in silence. Allowing silence. Sometmes it takes a moment to digest. In those moments, great things happen. We want to allow for those moments, not feel the need to fill the spaces.
- I want to think about it some more. There’s also honor in saying you don’t know or you want more time. Why? Because not only is it truthful, but it shows you’re the kind of person who gathers information and thinks things through. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s everything right with it.
- I like this work/part of the work that’s been done. Such a classic creative move when you get hired to hate on everything that came before. And it’s juvenile and unproductive. Obviously you were brought in because something’s not working, but when something is, we will say so, honoring what’s been done and saving the client time and money in the process.
- So. Onward. Similarly, we want to hear enough about what’s not working from stakeholders for my work to be as effective as it can be. But we also want to think about it in a fresh way. And we don’t want to participate in needlessly venting about someone else’s work product. (Which wastes the client’s time and money anyway.) So we’ll pivot if the conversation goes there.
- Can I come over there, or call you? Our first choice is always to meet a client live, but at the very least a call is often better than an out-of-control email chain.
- What’s on your mind? Do you ever have a sense that you’re not talking from the same place? That something else is going on that you don’t quite understand? Or that someone’s acting out of character? Whether it’s a client or a partner, you’re talking about a person, and there’s often something bigger happening. A business change in the works. A financial worry. An internal political concern. When something feels off, we’ll ask. It might just bring us closer.
- I love working with you. Creatives are generally known to be needy; we love praise. But clients are people too. When clients and partners are lovely (as is often the case!), we’ll remember to tell them that.