Fine sucks. Fine is the opposite of good, but it’s not quite bad. If it was bad, you would know it was bad and then you would work to make it better.  When someone says “yeah that’s fine”, it means it probably isn’t as good as they were hoping, and they fear telling you so.

John Crouch, the man that taught me how to teach, would beat me senselesly if I ever told him something was fine.  He would work hours on a design idea and then show it to me, and I would  say “Yeah that works fine, let’s do that.”  I would be lucky if I escaped with just a evil glare.

Why does fine suck?

Telling someone that their work is fine doesn’t give them anything to work with.  The person is asking because they want to make it better, and want to include your feedback.  You should feel honored that someone is asking you for your thoughts.  Do this to help them.

  • Point out the things that you like, and talk about why.
  • Talk about the things that you understand, and talk about why.
  • Make recommendations on how to strengthen the concept (and if you don’t know how…thats okay).

So often people are afraid of giving a critique because the fear they’ll come across critical.  While these words are rooted in the same meaning, the difference is in 1) was the critique requested and 2) was it delivered constructively?

So next time someone asks you “so what do you think?”  Please don’t say “It’s fine.”

Post filed under Quality Management.