The Two Most Powerful Words in the English Language

Many years ago I had a professor that posed a question to the class. I don’t recall the professor and I don’t recall the class. But I never forgot the question.

“What are the two most powerful words in the English language?”

This of course piqued our attention.  It seemed to be a very important tidbit of knowledge that he was about to share.  The answer . . .

“So what?”

I remember that it brought a smile to our faces, seeming almost tongue-in-cheek.  But it was far from it, and only the wisdom of years emphasized this further.  Because what those two simple words really allude to is RELEVANCE.  And for most things in life, and particularly in business, relevance is an overarching and critical consideration.

The challenge posed by these two words wraps in several layers of critical thinking around whatever topic triggered the response.

  • “Why should I view this as important?”
  • “How do the implications of this impact me?”
  • “What compelling evidence can you show me that what you’re saying is correct?”

Each layer drives us toward a stronger result that has walked around an issue and viewed it from multiple angles.

In the context of strategy, it challenges each assumption fueling our belief and the path chosen.  In the context of execution, it challenges the critical path and allocation of resources that we’re assuming will lead us to success.  In the context of persuasion, it reminds us that the audience – to be engaged – have to be shown the connections that you may take for granted.

So ask yourself that question often whenever you’re analyzing a situation or developing a position and you won’t be rolled back on your heels by these two simple words.