patrick leddin

The One Word You Must Start Saying

Imagine that your organization has been struggling with an issue for a long, long time. Occasionally, the problem goes away; but, it inevitably reappears. People are frustrated with this reoccurring and costly issue.

If you are struggling to identify a problem in your world, allow me to jog your thinking with a few ideas:

  • Perhaps your reoccurring issue is a technology solution that isn’t quite working right. The organization has invested a lot of money, people have spent countless hours, yet it just doesn’t work as promised.
  • Maybe it is a performance issue that has yet to be resolved. At times, it seems under control and things are going well, then it flares up in unexpected ways.
  • It could be a customer complaint that comes and goes. Customer have valid concerns, the problem is that your team can’t determine the true source of the issue.

Whatever the problem, it persists. Everyone is frustrated with it.

Now imagine that the next time the problem is discussed, you offer a suggestion. Your thought is unique. It causes people to pause. Discussion ensues and everyone agrees that your thought could work. It could change the game.

Imagine that six months later, people are reflecting on the day you made your suggestion and everything changed. What had once seemed impossible, now was a non-issue. In fact, the organization is in a far better place because of your recommendation and you are seen in a completely new light. You are the problem solver. You are the catalyst of the idea that made all the difference. You are destined for amazing things.

Feeling pretty good, eh?

If so, you just felt the power of the one word that MUST be in your vocabulary. What’s the word? Imagine.

  • Author and political commentator, Frank Luntz, called the word imagine the most powerful word in the English language.
  • John Lennon used it as the title of his 1971 album, Imagine, and the lead track from the record.
  • Walt Disney famously said, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”
  • Nelson Mandela’s words echoed the importance of the term. “Those who can’t imaginechange reveal the deficits of their imaginations, not the difficulty of change.”

So, how can you add a bit of imagination into your day? Consider saying things like:

  • “Imagine if it were illegal for us to not solve this issue; what might we do?”
  • “Imagine what performance might look like if our team members were fully engaged; how might we create that sort of environment?
  • “Imagine if we had our customers’ unwavering loyalty; what might we be able to achieve?”

Put the word imagine into your daily lexicon and you will likely achieve unexpected results – all stemming from our collective ability to dream of something better.


Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How to Own a Room; A Firsthand Lesson from Iceland’s Prime Minister

I recently delivered a presentation on leadership at Iceland’s National Government Day. The event took place at Harpa, Reykjavik’s inconic concert hall and convention center, and served as a celebration of Iceland’s 100 years of sovereignty. 500 Icelandic leaders, from all facets of the country’s government, attended the session.

Great Leaders Know How to Create the Conditions for Engagement

The vast majority of employees are disengaged from their work and you – not the CEO, the HR department, or someone else in the organization – are key to addressing the issue.

Don’t believe me?

Here are two findings from Gallup:

  • Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. This means that, “one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.”