5 Corporate Buzz Words That Need To Die

Question: Does the Emperor have no clothes? Answer: Let’s collaboratively pivot and build a customer-centric engagement engine to monetise our assets via an innovation-led centre of excellence before answering that question.

Plain English, it seems, is going out of fashion in Corporate America. A spade is never a spade and a spreadsheet full of made-up numbers is never a spreadsheet full of made-up numbers (it’s a five-year business plan).

Corporations are the places where language goes to die, and in its place a mangled, non-sensical, sanitised set of nouns and verbs flourish like killer bees in a Honey-Nut Cheerios factory. But it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. People really shouldn’t be afraid to keep using the words their parents spent so much money on having them learn at school. 

I wrote a post about this very topic and made the case that buzz words simply serve to make the ignorant sound semi-intelligent. It’s amazing how many heads you can get nodding in a room simply by saying “engagement” and “insights driven” enough times.

But while the battle to slay buzz words will likely be long and exhausting – like the words themselves – here are five we need to kill right now (and what they really mean).

1. Leverage Our Core Assets

What It Really Means: We’ve run out of new ideas and thus intend to take all the old junk we currently have, re-package it, and attempt to fob it off on the general public as something different.

2. Pivot

What It Really Means: That made-up business plan I created 6 months ago has actually turned out to be even more made-up than even I’d have expected, and thus I’m going to renege on all the promises I initially sold you on

3. Collaboration is key

What It Really Means: Making sure I get 50 per cent of the credit for your success so that I can build my own resume is key

4. Our customers will engage us with us whenever, wherever and however they choose

What It Really Means: Our customers are deserting us and we don’t know how to get them back

5. You’re getting too tactical

What it Really Means: You’re coming up with too many good ideas that I didn’t think of first, none of which I can represent using arrows and triangles in a lofty PowerPoint deck and claim as my own

What are some the most hated buzzwords that make YOU cringe? 

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