Word Nerd Wednesday – Support


“How do we get executive support for customer experience?”

Someone asks me this question at least once a week, and my advice is always the same: Stop asking for support.

“Support” is what I call a Vague Verb – too conceptual to drive concrete action.

People are more likely to act on specific requests than generic ones. Why? There’s less to think about if the person asking has spelled out the details of what they want you to do. “Support” is a catchall verb that could represent a range of different behaviors. Executives are too busy to figure out which ones you mean.

You’re more likely to succeed if you ask for individual tasks that fit under the overall “support” umbrella, like:  

  • Commit resources

  • Approve a change

  • Promote an event 

  • Enforce a rule

Executives do these things daily. They understand the work required and can easily map your request into an entry on their to-do list.

Getting on their to-do list doesn’t guarantee follow-through, but it’s a simple step anyone can take to up their odds of success.

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