When business cliches lose their meaning... a new "paradigm"
How many of you have sat in a meeting, eagerly anticipating a parade of buzzwords to fill out your buzzword bingo cards?
Yeah, I thought so... most all of you.
Overused business cliches are so common as to be jokes now. New paradigms, synergistic approaches, etc. Most often, those are the moments in the talk when you can zone out and figure out what's for dinner tonight. It usually means someone is trying to inflate one of their ideas to take on an importance that they'd lack if described in one syllable words. When you can program this same verbal misdirection on a website via a buzzword generator, you know it's time to find something else to do.
But I'm noticing there are another set of phrases, also often used in the business world, that are starting to lose any link to reality. These are the "motivational" phrases. These wordbites are used to spur the workforce on, usually during times of stress and pressure, to deliver ever-higher levels of output and productivity.
"We have to work smarter, not harder."
"We have to become lean and mean."
"We have to learn to do more with less."
Here's my problem with them... Nearly everyone has heard them ad nauseum, so they no longer convey any new, revolutionary concept that cause you to sit back and say WOW!. Furthermore, they are often used *after* some event has occurred (like layoffs) which mean you really have no choice because the work is going to keep on coming anyway. You're just going to get more of it than you did before. And finally (and the most frustrating), the statements are repeated on a regular basis, unfortunately after yet another event has occurred (again!) to make the workload even heavier.
The reality is plain... The economy sucks, cost pressures are high, business survival (or worse, Wall Street expectations and executive bonuses) are in doubt... Any marginally-engaged person with a job should understand that. People are usually one of the highest costs of doing business, and it's one of the areas that will always be under pressure when it comes to reduce those costs. Instead of throwing out motivational phrases that aren't, let's instead just put it in plain language. We can't afford the levels of staff we currently have and still meet our budget. Those remaining will need to pick up additional work. Where possible, stop doing things that don't matter. If you disagree on what "doesn't matter", push back. And ultimately, it's up to you to either make your personal resource cover as much as you can (set limits), or opt for another environment where you think you can do better (other opportunities).
So what other motivational business phrases have ceased to have any real meaning for you?