image There are many words and phrases which some would consider dangerous. Arguably the two which are most dangerous are the words “I’ll just….” followed by another statement.

Read on for some examples…

If you don’t believe me, consider how many times you have either heard (or possibly said) some of the following statements:

  • “Whilst I am cleaning this window, I’ll just reach a bit further to save having to move the ladder” – preceding by a visit to hospital
  • “I’ve only got one hole to drill in this wall, I’ll just manage without safety goggles” – again followed by a trip to hospital
  • “Whilst the server is down to reset the UPS , I’ll just apply this patch.” – this time followed by many hours of head scratching and swearing as you try to get the server back to a stable condition
  • “I know I should find out the right job code to use, I’ll just leave it as the default”  – start of ongoing data quality problems
  • “I know this data is wrong, I’ll just enter it and someone else will sort it out” – even more data problems
  • “I’ve extracted data from the ERP system into this spreadsheet, I’ll just update the spreadsheet because it is quicker than the ERP system” – those data anarchists again!
  • “I’ll just email out this employee data to our service supplier, it will not need encrypting as email is secure” – prior to a leak of employee details on the internet and damage to the reputation of your organisation
  • “I like this screensaver I downloaded from the internet, I’ll just put in on my work computer using my data stick” – immediately followed by a serious malware infection of the organisation’s IT

Sometimes these are indications that someone knows that they are taking a risk, but they will take it anyway, regardless of the consequences. Sometimes it is just a case of people not thinking through the consequences of their actions. Whichever reason is used, the phrase “I’ll just….” should be a warning.

Can you think of a more dangerous phrase/word than “I’ll just…”?

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7 thoughts on “The most dangerous two words in the English language?

  • 2nd October 2010 at 19:02

    I like your post, and I agree that “I’ll just” is dangerous. But I think the most dangerous phrase of all is “Trust me.”

  • 3rd October 2010 at 03:23

    I find the most dangerous phrase to be, “but we are different”!!

    This is a signal of a different measurement mechanism, almost always moving away from governance, and leading to data pollution.

    Lot’s of business psychology behind this 1…probably enough for a series 🙂

    • 3rd October 2010 at 20:28

      Thanks for your suggestion. I often find that these two phrases go together – “Trust me, I’ll just finish this job and then get on to yours….” etc. But I agree, more useful trigger words to watch out for.

      Another good warning phrase “we are different” which can be an indication of closed minds. Possibly, not as dangerous as “I’ll just” but still worth listening out for.
      In my experience, there are few business processes/problems that are truly different. Therefore, there will often be a ready made solution available, people just need to open their minds enough to consider it. Like you say, there is a huge amount of psychology behind this mindset.


  • 5th October 2010 at 17:48

    I definatley agree with you Julian sometimes a simple phrase can backfire, another dangerous one is “I swear..”

  • 7th October 2010 at 19:17

    I’m from Texas. Most dangerous phrase: “Hold my beer, and watch this.”



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