It’s Not Cliché If You’re Doing It©

Several years ago a friend told me about a “game” to play at conferences, during workshops, and in meetings. The game was called Bulls**t Bingo and it involved listening for overused terms, phrases and words that overpopulate business conversations, including “think outside the box”, “real-time”, “on the same page”, “integration”, “on board”, “workflow”, “user friendly”, etc. At the time, I loved the idea and agreed with the precept that these types of words and phrases were, indeed, overused and misunderstood.

Now, there’s a new set of business speak jargon that is being derided by many as overused and just too much fluff: “collaboration”, “alignment”, “transformational”, “integration” (an oldie but goodie), “integrated solution”, “team engagement”, “acceleration”, etc. My perspective today, however, is different than a few years ago.

Certainly, these words and concepts are overused and often considered cliché, but perhaps they’re seen that way not because they aren’t real but because they are rarely lived and walked out. They ARE all real and achievable … and they are not cliché IF you’re doing it.

When someone suggests that these concepts are not real or that they are over-talked about, the likely scenario is that they don’t believe in them or minimally, may not have achieved them. As I work with clients and in my own business, I have struggled to find other words to describe the very real outcomes that are co-created when people genuinely and authentically collaborate. When teams align with a living, breathing organizational purpose, they experience palpable team engagement … engagement that creates amazing outcomes. When people and organizations are able to set aside old ways of thinking and doing business, as well as, when they are able to create new paradigms, they create transformational impact for their people, their clients, and their organization. When organizations and teams communicate, trust, engage, and are accountable, they dramatically accelerate execution and outcomes. The concepts and the outcomes are real, whereas the shortcomings are in our own failure to fully commit and authentically embrace a new way of thinking and doing business.

The time has come for courage–courage to fundamentally change how we do business. Courage to walk a talk that has been overused, but under implemented; courage to lead our teams and organizations in ways that have been written about and talked about for years, but sparingly integrated into business decisions, leadership, planning, and execution; courage to look in the mirror and tell ourselves the truth about what we’re doing (or not doing), how we’re leading (or not leading), and how well we’re executing (or not executing). Too many leaders have talked the talk, but not walked the walk. Team members have been raising the alarm for years: citing lack of appreciation, lack of integrity (actions not aligning with messaging), and lack of engagement; while organizations continued to operate in an old model where team members are viewed as necessary evils (or even annoyances).

Cliché is defined as a trite phrase or expression or something that has become overly familiar or commonplace. What has become overly familiar or commonplace is a business model based upon transactions, manipulations, misalignment, and poor accountability. The outcome has been inconsistent execution, low employee morale, and underperforming (or failing) organizations. It is time to embrace what we’ve previously called cliché as the most direct path to engaged, aligned, and executing teams and organizations. It is time to not only walk our own talk and create organizations and teams that consistently and predictably execute on agreed objectives, but also teams which are aligned with core values and purpose. The next time you hear someone call a word or phrase cliché, ask them a simple question: Are you doing it? For when we do it, there is no cliché.

Does Your Talk Match Your Walk

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