The Bold War

Culture Vulture

My top five annoying office phrases that kill your company culture…


1.  We are a strong follower

This is the perfect cue to exit the office immediately.  What does this even mean? How can you be a strong follower? A weak follower makes more sense.  What this phrase really means is that your company is afraid to make decisions and be bold with its strategy.  In other words, your company doesn’t really believe in anything.  Some organisations will claim that this approach has merits when dealing with new and untested technology, but heck, either do something or don’t.  Don’t wait for your rivals to move.


2.  Throw them in the deep end

This phrase is a timeless classic for its ability to justify poor planning on the manager’s behalf, whilst placing additional pressure on the new incumbent.  This phrase broadly translates to, ‘we didn’t organise ourselves early enough to appropriately induct our new team member’.  First impressions count.  New employees can immediately lose a few notches of enthusiasm if they are afforded no support when they start. 


3.  The ball is in their court

Has anyone seen this magical sport where one ball is shared across two courts?   This phrase is especially annoying when used to describe the partnership between your technology and business areas.  You are a one team.  There is one ball and everyone is on the same court.  Now play together.  Collaboration, communication and a sense of community are vital to achieving your organisations goals.  All team members need to feel part of the change, and respect the outputs of their peers.


4.  This is not part of my job description

I hate this one for two reasons.  People who say this are often the workers who deliver the least output in the first place.  They are usually the last people you want to approach with a time critical task, and when you do, they pull this fast one on you.  On the other hand this phrase can be symptomatic of not having the right operating model defined for your organisation.  Staff will get frustrated with continuously having to do work they are not skilled to do.  Either way, resolve the problem so it isn’t said again.


5.  This project needs to be delivered by DD/MM/YYYY...

This sentence is the worst way to start a project.  Senior leaders have a tendency to dictate dates on an ill conceived pet project that has no chance of delivering in that timeline.  Cue project manager making up a schedule to meet bosses expectation, project doesn’t meet end date, blame game starts, and everyone looks bad.  First off, let your project team tell you how long it will take. Encourage them to plan and then see the output of that plan.  Challenge the plan if you want but don’t ever dictate an end date.


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