‘98% of what competing organisations do is essentially the same. The difference between us and the rest is the last 2% – the commitment of our people.’ ‘Our people are our greatest asset.’ ‘The inclusive organisation.’
These are clichés! Words that once contained a basic truth lose their power through overuse and lack of authenticity. They become devalued when the leaders’ behaviour fails to live up to the promise. Even the term ‘Vision Statement’ has now become a cliché. What is needed is a different leadership language to inspire and motivate, to bring people together. It already exists but it’s been largely ignored for years. It’s called plain speaking, accompanied by its faithful friend, the bullshit test.
The bullshit test was central in the world of advertising I inhabited for thirty years. If anything we wrote failed the test, it was canned. One of the key learnings that I carried with me into leadership development.
Try it – if any one of your communications or, more importantly, your group values, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, get rid of it before it comes back to bite you.