Stick A Fork In Business Buzzwords: 15 Common Phrases To Kill

The business world is ripe with raconteurs, rhetoricians and grandiloquent speakers – which is to say that many businesspeople use unwieldy elaborations of common English words and phrases in an effort to make a point – or simply out of habit without considering the meaning (or lack thereof) of a particular phrase.

Recently, in the LinkedCincinnati Group on LinkedIn, I posed the question:

“If you could kill one piece of corporate buzz-speak (like the phrase ‘move the needle’), what would you eliminate?” 

After over 100 comments in just one week, below are a few of my favorites from the discussion:

1. Think outside the box

First, can you define what the box is, so I can think outside of it? Yeah, I didn’t think so. 

2. There’s no “I” in Team

But there is an “m” and an “e”… There’s also an “I” in quit. 

3. Reach out

This sounds like it involves touching in the workplace. Your HR person will not be amused. 

4. At the end of the day

Lazy and meaningless at any time of the day. Unless, of course, it IS literally the end of the day. 

5. Let’s take that off-line

Translation: “I don’t want to address that and I hope you’ll forget to bring it up again.” 

6. We want to partner up with you

To take advantage of what a person or company has built/grown/acquired – for free. 

7. I’d like to pick your brain

See #6. 

8. Drink the kool-aid

Sounds way better than asking employees to die for you

9. This one’s in your wheelhouse

I don’t want to have anything to do with this project. You can have it. 

10. Take one for the Team

You’re on your own here. We’re officially throwing you under the bus.

11. Kick the can down the road

Because nothing says we’re serious business people like comparing work activities to a child’s game. 

12. Game changer

Yeah, right. Before that it was “world class” and before that it was “state of the art”. 

13. It is what it is

“I am your supreme Leader. And I don’t give a shit what you think.”   

14. Get in bed with

Just say NO to using this in regards to customers, vendors, etc. Trust me. They’re not that into you.  

15. Open the kimono

Some things are better left unseen. Keep that kimono zipped up and find another way to talk about transparency!

Question: What business buzzword or corporate jargon would you like to eliminate? Share it in the Comments section by clicking here!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

Driving Success with LinkedIn as a Small or Mid-Sized Company | Talent Connect Vegas 2013 [video]

Recently, I had the honor of moderating a panel discussion at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect Vegas 2013 Conference on the topic of “Driving Success with LinkedIn as a Small or Mid-Sized Company”.

The esteemed panelists I had the pleasure of working with included:

Angie McDonald – Vice President of Human Resources, Realogy Holdings Group

M.T. Ray – Senior Director of Global Recruiting, ExactTarget

Arnaud Kermouche – Manager of Talent Acquisition, Uni-Select, Inc.

The following video is from our session (some subscribers may need to click here to view) and I’ve also summarized some key points from the session below the video and the time increments for each question/response.

Whether you’re using LinkedIn for recruiting, employer branding or employee engagement via a free account or using paid LinkedIn Talent Solutions, I promise you’ll find the experiences, tips and suggestions shared by these successful Talent Acquisition leaders helpful!

00:00 – 07:00 Introductions

07:01 – 13:40 Describe the evolution of LinkedIn’s role in your Talent Strategy and how it’s grown over time.

ExactTarget – Today, 95% of ET employees are on LinkedIn and over 50% of openings are filled by employee referrals.

Uni-Select – LinkedIn is now a cornerstone in the employer brand strategy and is used to increase visibility.

Realogy – Started small and had to demonstrate ROI to be able to invest more in LinkedIn. Now use LinkedIn to find candidates and fill jobs domestically and internationally.

13:41 – 22:04 How did you get your leadership to buy-in and invest in LinkedIn?

Uni-Select – Worked with LinkedIn to understand candidates, to listen to them and improve communications.

Realogy – Filled key positions in the UK and Hong Kong that would have previously been filled by outside agencies.

ExactTarget – Showed significant dollar savings in agency fees and was able to invest more in an internal sourcing team.

22:05 – 29:43 How has using LinkedIn impacted your talent acquisition efforts?

Uni-Select – Able to attract and hire for C-level and VP positions directly.

ExactTarget – Have basically stopped using agencies domestically and have had success with some international hires.

Realogy – Use LinkedIn as a strategic tool to make business proposals and present data to inform hiring managers.

29:44 – 33:22 How much of a component is LinkedIn in your Talent Acquisition strategy?

ExactTarget – At least 50%. Able to target passive talent, get employee referrals and use it for employer branding.

Realogy – LinkedIn is part of a diverse talent acquisition strategy.

Uni-Select – LinkedIn is third highest source of applicants.

33:23 – 37:13 What does the future hold for your Talent Acquisition efforts?

Realogy – Understand how to utilize mobile and also how to work more closely with hiring managers.

ExactTarget – Social recruiting in general – not just LinkedIn, but also Twitter, Instagram and other social sites.

Uni-Select – A recruiting video and communicating more effectively with employees so they can be Ambassadors for the company on LinkedIn.

37:14 – 41:30 How are you engaging your employees to recruit the talent you need?

Uni-Select – Uses lunch and learn sessions.

ExactTarget – Partnering with hiring managers and teaching them how to use LinkedIn to share jobs.

Realogy – Provides tips on how employees can improve their Profile and how franchisors can improve their Pages to get more followers and attract people to the company.

42:00 – 53:00 Audience Q&A

More great tips and info from the panelists and audience members on getting the most out of LinkedIn, getting started with a LinkedIn strategy, proving ROI and dealing with push-back from Marketing or other departments who aren’t supportive of developing an employer brand.

53:01 – 53:16 Thanks and goodbye!

Thanks to LinkedIn for once again providing a great learning and connecting experience at their annual conference!

It’s never too early to register for Talent Connect 2014 in San Francisco October 20 – 22, 2014!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

Dealing With Difficult Employees: What Not To Say [Entrepreneur.com]

As a Leader, it’s part of your job to sometimes have difficult conversations with employees. But nobody likes doing this, so it helps to prepare how you’ll handle the situation in advance.

Recently, myself, Donna Rogers and Susan Strayer LaMotte were asked to share some tips on what to say/what not to say during difficult situations in an article on Entrepreneur.com – Difficult Conversations: What Not To Say.

Entrepreneur.com logo

Here’s a tidbit from the article with my views on what can happen when an employee is angry and ready to unload:

As the person delivering awkward or unpleasant news to a staffer, you often try to make yourself feel better by giving the employee time to defend themselves, but this often disintegrates into an arguing and finger pointing. This then puts you in a defensive posture. “It almost always goes south the more explanation you provide,” says McClure. “If then you get some small fact wrong, it distracts from the actual conversation and you are both on the defensive.

Read more about how to handle this type of difficult situation, as well as two others by checking out the entire article on Entrepreneur.com.

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

10 Steps to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn [Beyond the Basics]

LinkedIn is a great tool for growing your professional network, communicating your personal brand and connecting to opportunities to help you grow your career and your business. But are you going beyond the basics in how you utilize LinkedIn?

Beyond creating a Profile, connecting with your co-workers and joining a few Groups, here are 10 solid steps you should take to get the most out of the opportunities that being a part of the LinkedIn network presents:

1. Post relevant and helpful information in the “Share an Update” box on a regular basis.

Want to build your personal brand and professional reputation? Then become known as a resource or “go to” person in your field or industry. Read a great article? Share it with a comment. Aware of an interesting networking or professional development event? Share it and let your network know you’re going.

I share a ton of links and resources with my network via TwitterFacebook, and Linked In, and in my experience the engagement is often higher and of better quality (i.e. informative threaded discussions, new connections made, etc.) when shared via my status update on LinkedIn.

Action Step: Share a LinkedIn Status Update with your network at least 3 times per week. Add this activity to your calendar or To Do list to ensure it gets done.

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4 Traits of Teachable Leaders – And How You Can Demonstrate Them

The role of a Leader can be a tough gig – one that’s made even harder by some who feel that they’ve reached a point in their career where they no longer need to submit themselves to learning and leadership development opportunities.

As Leaders, it’s easy to think that we got to where we are because we’re the most capable – and as a result should be teaching those on our teams how it’s done based upon our experience having done it all before. But every living thing needs to be fed in order to survive and thrive – and as a Leader, you do too!

So how can we be more teachable as Leaders in an effort to learn and foster growth? It’s starts by putting ourselves in the frame of mind that we can (and must) learn more.  Best-selling author and leadership expert John Maxwell calls this a “teachable attitude”:

Teachability is not so much about competence and mental capacity as it is about attitude. It is the desire to listen, learn, and apply. It is the hunger to discover and grow. It is the willingness to learn, unlearn, and relearn. I love the way legendary basketball coach John Wooden states it: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

When I teach and mentor leaders, I remind them that if they stop learning, they stop leading. But if they remain teachable and keep learning, they will be able to keep making an impact as leaders. Whatever your talent happens to be – whether it’s leadership, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, or something else – you will expand it if you keep expecting and striving to learn.

Assuming that you’ve got the orientation of a Teachable Leader, here are four traits to focus on:

Trait #1: Teachable Leaders are consistent and continuous Seekers. 

To avoid stagnation as a Leader, seek out opportunities to listen, learn and apply knowledge not only from like-minded, similarly situated colleagues, but also from those who can offer different perspectives and even contrary points of view. Read books, blogs and news from authors and websites that are both similar and opposite to your way of thinking. Effective Leaders need to be able to think through and justify their own decision-making to many different stakeholders, so actively seeking out alternative perspectives in advance is a great way to solidify – and improve – your ideas and plans.

Trait #2: Teachable Leaders are willing to be Receivers.

As someone who has worked with and coached many senior level executives, I can confirm that it’s rare for Leaders to get honest and direct feedback from those on their teams and in their organizations – positive, negative or constructive. Why? There’s still also an unwritten rule within much of the business world – “The Boss is always right”, but an even bigger reason is that it’s actually rare for a Leader to ask – and be willing to receive feedback other than agreement with their approach or idea. If the people on your teams aren’t willing to or used to providing you with feedback, teach them how. And most importantly, act upon the feedback that you’re given. Show your team that you have a hunger and desire to grow and improve as a Leader, and that they’re an important part of that journey!

Trait #3: Teachable Leaders understand the importance of being good Followers.

We often assign mentors to young professionals at work, to help them gain insights and encouragement from someone that they can model and learn from. Regardless of your longevity in your career or within your organization, as a Leader you need mentors and role-models too. Do you have someone in your network that you can go to for advice and counsel? Maybe that’s another CEO, a colleague from a professional networking group or an outside coach, but make sure that you have someone whom you admire and respect to offer you a safe place to work through problems and opportunities – and be willing to submit to their leadership. We get better by learning from others who have been there/done that – and got the t-shirt.

Trait #4: Teachable Leaders grow stronger when the are Producers. 

A great way to grow in character and competence as a Leader is to build into other Leaders. Are you mentoring others? Are you actively sharing what you’re learning as a Seeker, Receiver and Follower? Don’t keep all of the goodness to yourself. Invest in others to multiply the results of your continuous improvement efforts!

Question: What did I miss? What are some additional traits that you feel Teachable Leaders have? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.