The One Second Rule

How many times have these words flashed through your mind: “I wish I could take back what I just said!“?  How many times have you worked with a leader on a complicated employee issue only to learn they said something that makes a difficult situation impossible to resolve?  

If only there was a simple way to head off these foot-in-mouth moments.  So much time, energy, and embarrassment could be avoided.

Just Give Me A Second, Literally 

Slowing down to think before we speak is not as easy as it sounds.  Sure, we’re professionals and we’re supposed to be good at this stuff, right?  But what tool can we realistically offer to the leaders we support that is easy to use and easy to remember? 

The One Second Rule.

I know we’re all busy, and have a hectic life full of drama, projects, deadlines and more drama.  However, I have to believe that we all have at least one second to spare.  It’s in that one second of time that the magic happens.  Give yourself just one second to affirm, or change, what you are about to say.  Think of the implications:

– one less insensitive remark
– one less racial slur
– one less harsh comment to an employee
– one less arrogant statement
– one less gender-biased remark
– one less homophobic comment
– one moment to lead -> GAINED.


We can not wait to implement this rule.  If we strive to create organizational cultures rich in cognitive diversity as Joe Gerstandt so effectively describes, then we can ill afford to have our leaders cutting off these opportunities before they even begin.

Think before you speak.  Give yourself a chance to do the right thing before it’s too late and you find yourself wishing you could “have those words back.”  

I know it’s difficult to do…I struggle mightily with this every single day.


How do you ensure you don’t regret making comments that deflate instead of empower?  How do you make the conscious choice to say the right words at the right time to the right people?  How do you invest your One Second?

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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