This phrase used to give me hope, even a “thrill.” Now it depresses and even annoys me. What it needs to do is give me cautious optimism. I reflected upon why this phrase stirs my emotions, and how I’ve evolved in my thinking, and here is what I found.
When I say “It can be done” or someone says it to me (the speaker), it means, “I’ve thought about the various aspects and I can see a path to the solution. I have the experience to solve the problem, or enough knowledge to create or invent one.”
What it does not give me is: a plan, deliverables, roadmap, risk analysis, budget, scope, service level agreement, quality level, and capability analysis. In other words, it gives me no assurance that it will be done in the time frame and to the quality I desire. I only get the illusion that “it will be done.”
Meanwhile, I (or the speaker) have declared victory and moved on to the next problem. I (or the speaker) forgot that execution is what matters. All solutions work on paper, power point slides, and whiteboards.
This creates a problem for two reasons:
- It gives me (or the listener) false hope that the problem will be solved within desired cost, time, and be of desired quality.
- Further commitments are made on the hope that the problem will be solved by me (or the speaker). This multiplies the false hope and resulting disappointment.
You can only imagine how much disappointment is being created on a daily basis with this simple phrase. My alternate choices are:
- “I will do it.”
- “Let me get back to you.”
- “I see a way out, but I don’t want to set expectations that I cannot meet.”
- “I’ve got some ideas, but I don’t want you to think I am signing up to deliver this.”
I’d love to read your comments if you have a better phrasing.