The Wall Street Journal just asked CEOs to answer this question and they got some interesting results (see them here).
- Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza offered “push the envelope,” though I think his reason is wrong. (I suspect most people do understand the phrase’s meaning, even if many don’t know the origin.)
- Peter Cappelli of the Wharton School said he’d ban “passionate” since it implied “drama” and he doesn’t think we want that in a workplace. Personally, I’ll take passion even if it occasionally comes with a little “drama.”
- Ariana Huffington wants to ban “viral” for all the right reasons.
- But my favorite is from Lisa Goldenberg of Delaware Steel: “Out-of-the-box thinking.” Her reasoning can’t be improved upon so I’ll quote: “People who refer to out-of-the box see the box…People who don’t know the box even exists are the innovative thinkers.”
P.S. The Journal also allowed readers to offer their own “buzzwords to be banned” and you can see them using the link shown above. Plus you can put your colleagues to sleep using output from the automatic buzzword generator. Here’s one I generated: “As part of our review of boots on the ground, we have decided to move forward with value-added paradigms. Skate to where the puck is going to be.” Yikes!