10 words that will scuttle your strategy

InvestWords matter. They REALLY matter when you are developing a strategy. Weak words will lead to a weak strategy. When these words are part of a strategy that comes from leadership it makes matters even worse.

To paraphrase a quote whose source I cannot remember, “A mist on the mountaintop is a fog in the valley”. If it is unclear to those closer to the top of the org chart, it will be indecipherable to those closer to the bottom.

Here are 10 words that should not be part of your strategy.

Aspire. So you aspire to be something different or something great. Who doesn’t? If this is part of your mission statement, drive a stake in the heart of aspiration and say “We will be…”. There is no magic in small plans.

Enhance. Changing “happy” to “glad” is an enhancement. That’s weak! Don’t put it in your strategy.

Adequate. Really? Don’t go out of your way or anything. Barely adequate is still adequate.

Innovate. Or any variation of it including “innovation.” {Example: Our people are “innovation dynamos”) Be honest – this is a weasel word.

Better. Better than what – or who?

Enable. Either you can make it happen because you control the process or you can’t. Enabling something means you contribute but you don’t control. If you use this word that is contingent on participation of someone who is not involved, you have just surrendered your strategy to a non-participant.

More. More is another relative word. “Gain more market share” doesn’t commit to anything.

Develop. What do you do with it when it is developed?

Monitor. What are you going to do if there is a change? Is a negative change different from a positive change? This raises more questions than it answers.

Best in class. Really? Best in what class? Unless you’re a senior and want to be valedictorian, this shouldn’t be in your mission statement.

These ten words will put a hole in your boat if you are writing a strategy. Do you have others? Feel free to list pet peeve kind of words here. For instance, “impactful” almost made my list.

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