Death by Corporate Speak

Contrary to popular belief, corporate speak doesn’t work when you’re trying to get business results or increase engagement. In fact, for a business corporate speak is your worst enemy, and it will suck any hope of inspiration right out of the business faster than you can hit send on the company wide email.

Here’s an example of the corporate speak businesses love to use, and how to translate it into everyday language people actually understand and care about. If you want a healthy culture where people are engaged and work hard to get results, you need to ditch the Latin and embrace everyday words that have the power to connect people emotionally with the business.  If you can’t find the humor in the following list, or find yourself grasping onto corporate speak with an iron fist, shoot me an email and I’ll talk you off the cliff.

  • Foundational Excellence: First of all, employees don’t know what the hell this means. This includes most of the VPs in the business. Secondly, because they have no idea what foundational excellence means, no one cares because no one is emotionally invested. Instead say, “The business is going to make sure everyone has the supplies and support to do their job and keep customers happy.” That’s what people care about, and they get it.
  • Cultural Efficiencies: Seriously, stop the madness! The last thing employees will get inspired by is the word efficiency. When employees hear the word efficiency they automatically think that the leaders of the company have come up with another flavor of the month in order to grow the bottom line–giving employees more to do with less resources. Add the word culture into the mix and people assume the company is forcing them to participate in a “fun committee” activity when they’re already maxed out and exhausted. Instead say, “The business will start listening to people, and use their ideas to create a healthier workplace.” Now that’s a culture initiative people can get behind and support. That said, people will only give you one chance, so make sure you follow through.
  • Communicative Leadership: One of my favorites. Be careful, this is a hot button for most employees throughout Corporate America. False promises of communicative leadership has become a standing joke in cubical land and is one of the top reasons why talented people leave companies. The phrase alone will make employees cringe and automatically put up a defense. If you’re serious about making leadership communication a priority, ditch the fancy language and instead say, “Leaders are going to talk to people, listen, and make face-to-face conversations a priority.” Then make sure every leader actually does it.
  • Operational Effectiveness: Similar to foundational excellence, employees don’t know what operational effectiveness means, and they don’t care because they have no emotional connection to what the business is trying to accomplish. When it comes to anything operations related, if you want results it better be tangible, emotionally relevant and easy to understand. Rather than operational effectiveness instead say, “The business is going to make sure it doesn’t have multiple people doing the same job and that processes aren’t redundant.” If you use language that gets to the root of daily stresses, and follow through on your promises, people will actually want to help the business reach its goals.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

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