Everyone who reads anything I write knows that I have an unhealthy and totally unrealistic goal of trying to rid the business world of buzzwords. I've tried to get us to stop opening our kimonos and stop talking about ecosystems unless we are actually outside walking around Yellowstone National Park. I've tried to eliminate the side hustle and even tried to use my knowledge of influence science to make an appeal to buzzword violators in their own language: the language of buzzwords.

I don't think any of it has really worked in 2017, but I'm stubborn enough to keep trying going into 2018.

The good thing is that we keep finding new buzzwords to use, which fuels my obsession, which makes me write more about it, which will probably have me meet my end some day sitting in a room staring at my computer screen in a catatonic state muttering something like:

"I just want to stop baking people into the process..."

Here is the newest target of my largely unsuccessful one-man buzzword assault:

Rock star.

We all hear it all the time around the office.

"That new guy we hired is a total rock star!"

 "Emily is such a great partner to work with. She's a rock star!"

These days, there are a lot of rock stars roaming around the business world. But would we really want rock stars working for and with us?

Here are my top seven reasons why we wouldn't really want to work with rock stars in our companies:

  1. Rock stars tend to stay up really late and get up even later, especially if they've had a big arena concert the night before followed by back to back after-parties. You might have chronic attendance or tardiness issues with them.
  2. Rock stars are gone for long periods of time. It would be hard to give a rock star the lead on that big systems implementation because they'd inevitably have to go out on a massive multi-city tour right in the middle of the system integration testing period.
  3. Rock stars party a lot. Having my Customer Service manager show up grumpy and hung over every day might not help us with our "customer comes first" customer relationship management strategy.
  4. Rock stars have a propensity for dancing around provocatively and not wearing shirts. I think that violates at least two standard typical HR policies.
  5. Rock stars like being in the spotlight, especially lead guitarists who play extra-long guitar solos. That might not fit in with the self-directed team culture of collaboration we're trying to implement. If I absolutely had to hire a rock star for my team, I'd probably hire a rock star bass player. They don't usually get long solos and are happy working on a team in the background.
  6. Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Jim Morrison. Scott Weiland. Randy Rhoads. Let's just say that succession planning would be really important if these guys were in critical company leadership roles.
  7. Rock stars wear sunglasses a lot, including when they are inside and completely away from the sun. This is probably because of reasons #1 and #3 and not because they need special eye filters because their job description requires them to stare at their computer monitors for 14 straight hours programming IT code. This might just get really distracting to people. Worse, it might start a trend of everyone wearing sunglasses inside all day long.  

As much as I love rock stars (and at one point in my life aspired to be one), I'd much rather hire an awesome business person. I'll let the rock stars be rock stars and the really awesome business people be really awesome business people.

With that, I'm going to go listen to some old school Guns N' Roses to reign in the new year. Happy New Year!

Published on: Dec 27, 2017