Five words of guff to avoid in 2017

Certain words or phrases annoy me. Bah humbug and all that. I never want to hear them again. I understand the sentiment behind the words but when they are overused as management drivel then enough is enough. It is time to stop using them and discard these words into bullshit bingo. There will be a punishment for anyone I hear speaking the guff below:

  1. Innovation – everywhere I go someone is innovating this or innovating that. Really? Most innovation appears to be churning out the same old thing only marginally improved. That my friend is not innovation. Real innovation is rare, exciting and sometime life-changing. Let’s not confuse the two.
  2. Engage – these days everyone wants to engage with you. Interestingly some of the synonyms for engage include arrest, capture and seize. I do not want you to arrest, capture or seize me with your project/plan/idea. I want a conversation. I want a two-way process. So lets drop engage and find a better word.
  3. Transformation – like innovation, every change these days is a transformation. Transformation means a complete or marked change in form. Rarely is an organisational project transformational, at best it is reforming what you already do to cost less/be faster/do it better etc. So call it what it is, you ain’t transforming you are just changing it (a bit).
  4. Agile – Saying you are agile, or worse still you are ‘doing agile’, when you wouldn’t know your agile from your elbow is not helpful. Please stop. It is most likely what you are doing is ‘fragile’ (see what I did there?) If you are truly agile you probably don’t go around saying ‘hey everyone look at us, we are agile!
  5. Resources (meaning people) – this is a heinous crime in my book. Resources means stuff e.g. information, materials, money BUT it does not mean people EVER. To refer to a person as a resource is wrong, wrong, wrong. Nuff said.

If in doubt, just watch this excellent Weird AL video.

Some words I would like to see more of: conversation, customer, co-creation, collaboration and change

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