29 Innovation-Killing Phrases And Why You Should Fire a Lawyer Who Uses Them

29 Innovation-Killing Phrases And Why You Should Fire a Lawyer Who Uses Them

A site I have never heard of before, Brainzooming, has a short piece on 29 innovation killing phrases. I have heard some of these uttered in my previous jobs, often by people who are high up in the food chain. When you look through this list, have you ever heard your lawyer use any of these phrases to you?

I recently spoke to a number of potential clients who all said the same thing to me “My lawyer always seems to be saying I shouldn’t do something I want to do with my business.” When I hear that (not usually stated so succinctly), I inwardly do two things. First I cringe and then I get excited.

As a lawyer and general counsel to small business, my job is not to say no to anything a business owner wants to do with their business. My job is to advise on the risks associated with any given course of action, discuss regulatory or legal implications, and help compare the risks to different paths of action. My job is not to say no or use any of these phrases. Lawyers have gotten a reputation, deservedly so, about being risk-adverse. But business owners take risks every day, my job as a general counsel is to find a way for owners to be comfortable with a risk.

Here is the list:

  1. It’s not my idea
  2. We’ve never thought of that before
  3. We don’t know how to do that
  4. Things are crazy busy right now
  5. We don’t have the right people on board
  6. It seems like it may get us in trouble
  7. We’ve done something similar before
  8. People could think it’s a boondoggle
  9. That will stretch us too thin
  10. I don’t see how we can pull it off
  11. Nobody in our industry has ever done anything like that
  12. They’re better at it than we are
  13. I don’t know anything about that
  14. We’ve got too many initiatives going on
  15. It’s too new for our market
  16. We already doing too much in that area
  17. They’re not expecting anyone to do that
  18. Our salespeople have too many things to sell already
  19. I know what the forecast numbers say
  20. It seems like such a small deal
  21. We’re already trying something else
  22. It seems too late to do anything about it
  23. We’ve never done anything about this
  24. I don’t understand why that’s necessary
  25. No customers are asking for that
  26. It seems impossible to pull off
  27. It’s not in the budget
  28. It seems like overkill
  29. We don’t have time for that

As small business owners, have you ever heard your lawyer use any of these phrases? If so, why are they still your lawyer?

Hat Tip: Matthew Homan