One of my slightly neurotic obsessions is to eradicate business buzzwords and replace them with plain speak. Despite my unwavering push and support from other entrepreneurs, buzzwords are entrenched.

As college basketball's March Madness hits this week and I temporarily lose my mind, I've written a potentially maddening piece. Instead of a traditional Buzzword Bracket, here is commentary on buzzwords written almost entirely using buzzwords.

I'm a professional who has been using ridiculous buzzwords for years. I understand the psychological harm I could be inflicting upon myself and have signed indemnification paperwork. I can't blame anyone if I spiral into a delusional state where I only use buzzwords after March Madness is long gone.

March Buzzword Madness

At the end of the day we should reconsider baking into our work all buzzwords, but I know bandwidth is a challenge. We need more bench strength to allocate resources to build a straw man for a new approach and create a dead on burning platform that our change agents can drive across the change network.

We need to create a parking lot of forbidden buzzwords and build the critical mass needed to make this change happen while cross-pollinating across companies. We need to organize a large scale data dump, orchestrate a buzzword deep dive and create deliverables that solve this issue in real time.

These deliverables must dove-tail with other work drilling down into buzzword abuse, and we must drum up support for confronting the elephant in the room, which is that we may not be prepared to do anything about it.

If we create a compelling elevator speech that fleshes out the challenges of buzzword abuse, we could gain traction in getting our arms around this, circle the wagons and get all of our ducks in a row to tackle the business buzzword gatekeepers. Then we could start fresh with greenfield communication.

It's not impossible to harness the organic process across companies equipping buzzword abusers to hit the ground running with plain speak. That would hit the nail on the head.

We need to map this out because it is so on point, but I'm open to additional mindshare. I will never be out of pocket for the hard work required to make this paradigm shift. If we peel back the onion, we all have it in our power alleys to hit this head on, generate quick wins, and pick the low hanging fruit that will allow us to start speaking like normal people again.

It may be important to prepare a deck that puts a stake in the ground and outlines the case for change so no one could push back. This deck would be a robust road map which could become the sexy project everyone wants in on that would never become shelfware or vaporware.

We'd even encourage scope creep as we sing from the same song sheet and socialize the plan across the corporate ecosystem about making this strategic pivot.

We need to talk live and not keep it to talking at the 20,000 foot level. We've got to tee up a way to think outside the box back to a time before buzzword thoughtware and ideation contaminated our communication. Figuring out how these buzzwords didn't create tissue rejection early on is outside of my wheelhouse, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't circle back and change it.

There is no turnkey solution. We need to touch base regularly to get on the same page and continuously vector towards success on this value add initiative. People adoption strategies will be vital to make this mindset shift. It's going to feel a lot like herding cats or even like getting Jell-O to stick to the wall, but if we take it one buzzword at a time and don't try to boil the ocean, it might work.

If you see someone walking the halls abusing buzzwords, parachute in and get down to brass tacks, re-level set with them, and connect the dots so that together we can build a better mousetrap.

This won't be easy because many of you already have too many balls in the air and too much on your plates. Even though you are wearing multiple hats, keep your focus so we get a win-win proposition (or at least a zero sum proposition) on this work thread.

We all know this is a sticky wicket, but we've got to attack this on the front lines at our offices. That's where the rubber meets the road. Feel free to ping me with other ideas about how we can increase the footprint of plain speak being used across all industry spaces.

(I'll be back with a normal article next week. I have to open the kimono and admit that March Madness has really gotten to me.)

Published on: Mar 14, 2017