The Phrase You Need to Ban

The president of Shamrock Home Loans is a guy named Rod Correia.

Rod’s known for quite a few interesting things in his life: he was a major league baseball player, (three-hit game against Randy Johnson, played in the game where Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak) he’s a husband, father, twenty-year mortgage banking executive and a really bright guy.

But here at Shamrock, all that takes a backseat to what Rod is really known for: the banning of a culturally popular phrase. The banished phrase and the thinking behind it has become a foundational piece of Rod’s communication to his staff and to industry leaders. Coast to coast, for years.

And that phrase? (wincing as I type it) “All set”. (Maybe I should put that in a quieter font just to be safe: “All set.”)

Every single person at Shamrock comes to know very quickly that you don’t say “all set” in front of Rod Correia.

In Rod’s view, when someone dare speaketh the cursed phrase, what they have effectively done is abdicate responsibility. As he sees it, nothing is “all set”. Things are done, completed or finished; and to suggest they are “all set” is to cleverly shift the accountability by saying: my part is done, I’m finished, not it’s finished. That’s a huge distinction.

What it comes down to with Rod is that he despises absolute’s (never, always) because they shift attention away from the finish line; and all-set is a derivative form of an absolute.

Howard Marks, one of the world’s most successful investors, takes a similar approach in his office, shutting down directives that use absolute language. In his interview with Tim Ferriss, Marks hammers home the point Rod makes about all-set. It’s a mask and it’s hiding something.

So the challenge in a culture that speaks in meme’s, emojis and absolutes is to lead with language that binds us to our word, language that doesn’t distract from the finish line.

After-all, that has to be easier than hitting a 100 mph Randy Johnson fastball.


Additional links on Rod:


Here are words to avoid and the substitutes to consider:

Words to avoid

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