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On the 21 rules blog for standout project management a case is made for dealing with performance problems by not apologizing Technique: Never Apologize. Just fix the delivery problem by having a plan and following through with corrective action. The example used is having a discussion with a nonperforming supplier but it is just as applicable to our own activities. If original plans don’t work out don’t spend a lot of time beating yourself up – that is just self defeating and demotivating. Move forward by dusting yourself off and deciding to quit the plan or follow through with a corrective plan.
21 rules introduces the idea of a say-do ratio:
say/do = SayDo ratio
This is all well and good to become conscious of how much you are saying and doing but application of the formula isn’t explained any further.
Maybe I am taking use of the formula too far since most people won’t actually calculate it but I think it should be the DoSay ratio because for me the key thing is to do more and get a result with a higher number.
With a DoSay = do/say ratio:
If you say a lot and don’t do much your ratio will approach zero. If you do 10 things but say 100 the ratio is 0.1 or 10%
If you do what you say, your ratio will approach 1. Do 90 out of 100 things you say is a 0.9 ratio or 90%.
If you do a lot and say little your ratio can become high. Do 100 things and only say 10 is a 10 ratio which sounds impressive but …
Of course you can game the system by not saying very much and doing a few things to still get a high ratio. You are only fooling yourself so a high ratio might be cause for evaluation of why you are not saying what you plan to do. The ideal should be to say a lot (call your shots for almost all the items you want to achieve in order to get peer pressure motivation and support) and carry through to get a ratio as close as you can to 1. Another way of putting it is its not all about the ratio. The main evaluation criteria is how much you get done and that you are doing important things.(see Do more great work)
The key results of thinking about the DoSay ratio is to become more conscious of what you do and say to help you do more.
Oh and the part about not apologizing … well it is important to be a person of action but people including ourselves are emotional beings too so deal with that by apologizing for the impact you caused and show your sincerity by following through on your corrective plan – “actions speak louder than words”.