When you’re asked how you are doing, do you have an automatic response?  When you ask how someone’s doing, do you accept an automatic response?

What about when you evaluate how your business is going?  How your newest product is selling?  Do you accept an automatic, unreasoned response?  Do you accept the word, “fine?”

I like the take at  IDEO where “fine is a four-letter word.”

Because there’s no information, no value, no content to the “fine” response, we sometimes say, “fine is a four-letter word (p. 27, The Art of Innovation).

Here’s the assignment: Listen to the way your team evaluates business today.  Listen to the way you talk about your business today.  Listen for the word, “fine.”


“Fine” Is a Four-Letter Word
  • This is encouraging. I long ago banished “fine” from my vocabulary. A counter-cultural thing to do here in the Midwest.
    One of my all time favorite t-shirts pictures a dead cow on it’s back in a pasture with it’s hoofs up in the air.
    Under the picture it reads, “No, really I’m fine.”
    Keep creating…practical surprise,

  • Mike! Totally wish I could find that cartoon! That’s it!

  • Mark, we might have to commission someone to make it. It was from many years ago.
    I suspect we could make a few dollars selling that t-shirt!
    “fine” is a form of self-deception or denial.
    Keep creating…WOW,