If you ask my daughter if she’s finished cleaning her room, she’s likely to tell you she’s not “done done.” If you join my daily pulse call with my staff at Emphasys Software, and hear me ask one of our engineers if they’re done with their project, you may hear that they’re not done done. So what’s going on here? Does everyone just have a case of repeating themselves? Not at all.
Maybe you’ve been in meetings like I have before, where you ask a simple question, “Is it Done?” and you get a lot of nods. As you go around the table and ask for more details than just a nod, you hear things like:
“All that’s left is to finish up the graphics, but other than that, it’s done.”
“Well, we’ll still need some final copy, but it’s done.”
“I just need to run it thru some testing, but for now, it’s done.”
Do you think that sounds very done at all? It doesn’t.
You see, most of the time, when I ask the question about whether something is done, I hear that it is done, and then right after, I hear all the other stuff that isn’t done. It normally starts with a “well” “but” or “other than” but they are all doing the same thing – modifying “done.”
So after several years of feeling frustrated about this dynamic, I created a phrase – Done Done – that would simply mean – it’s so done, that there are no other words to use after “done” except “done.” That’s what done done means. It means there are no other words. You can enjoy the silence. And the fact that whatever you’re trying to get accomplished is actually accomplished.
But teams don’t automatically hear the phrase, internalize it, and go on their way – suddenly taking new levels of ownership in everything they do. It’s up to you, a leader, mentor, or manager, to develop a culture that encourages ownership.