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In Praise Of Clichés
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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2014 | 1:25:13 PM
Really?
I don't know, David. If the servers all melt down or all the applications quit working, I'm not sure someone telling me "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" is going to help much. I think I would shove their tongue in the shredding machine.  :-)

I certainly agree mission statements are a joke. Replacing with a cliche wouldn't hurt much.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/14/2014 | 12:49:35 PM
Re: In Praise Of...
@Lorna- The whole fortune 500 is in need of one. They try to stuff their mission statements. Try this novel by Avon:

 

Avon's Mission


Avon's mission is focused on six core aspirations the company continually strives to achieve:
  • Leader in global beauty: Build a unique portfolio of beauty and related brands, striving to surpass competitors in quality, innovation, and value, and elevating Avon's image to become the world's most trusted beauty company. Learn more about Avon's brands.
  • Women's choice for buying: Become the shopping destination for women, providing a personal, high-touch experience that helps create lifelong customer relationships. Learn more about customer engagement at Avon.
  • Premier direct-selling company: Expand Avon's presence in direct selling, empowering women to achieve economic independence by offering a superior earnings opportunity as well as recognition, service and support, making it easy and rewarding to be affiliated with Avon. Learn more about how Avon empowers women.
  • Most admired company: Deliver superior returns to shareholders by pursuing new growth opportunities while maintaining a commitment to be a responsible, ethical company and a global corporate citizen that is held as a model of success. Learn more about recognition Avon has received.
  • Best place to work: Elevate the company's leadership, including its high standards, respect for diversity, and commitment to helping Associates achieve their highest potential in a positive work environment. Read about Associate engagement, workplace safety and diversity at Avon.
  • To have the largest foundation dedicated to women's causes: Be a committed global champion for the health and well-being of women through philanthropic efforts, with a focus on breast cancer, domestic violence and women's empowerment. Read more about Avon's global philanthropy.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/14/2014 | 12:38:54 PM
Re: In Praise Of...
Amen to that - Advance Auto is in desperate need of an editor.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/14/2014 | 12:35:53 PM
Re: In Praise Of...
@Lorna- Absolutely. Mission statements are for the most part terrible. They are do long. You can't remember 10 cliches packed into a mission statement. A mission statement I've heard pointed to as one of the best in the world is for Advance Auto Parts it reads:

"It is the Mission of Advance Auto Parts to provide personal vehicle owners and enthusiasts with the vehicle related products and knowledge that fulfill their wants and needs at the right price. Our friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff will help inspire, educate and problem-solve for our customers."

That is one of the shortest I've seen and it still seems too long to me. Personal vehicle owners? Vehicle related products and knowledge? Seriously?

What would be wrong with: "We will provide peope with the parts they need at the right price. Our staff friendly staff will provide expert knowledge and solve problems for our valued customers."

You know who might remember that? Employees, customers, even executives. You know who would remember the first? No one.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2014 | 12:33:41 PM
Re: In Praise Of...
@dave

 

It is what it is.

 

get it?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/14/2014 | 12:26:49 PM
Re: In Praise Of...
"It is what it is" is quite powerful. I also am fond of "It is all good."

I think there's real power in accepting instead of griping. Of course, there is even more power in fixing, but sometimes we can't do that for various reasons. 

But here's a question: "It is what it is" isn't really mission-specific is it? I mean, it doesn't grow the company or point the company in a certain direction. It simply encourages the team to accept certain realities. 

Does that mean we should accept a second category of cliches (call them "standing orders" maybe?)? Or does it mean you and i are being long term destructive to the people we are using our cliches on because we're not encouraging people to change the status quo?
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2014 | 12:18:55 PM
Re: In Praise Of...
Cliches are much before because everyone understands the message.  Think about someone taking one hour to explain the mission of the organization. I'm sure not all people will be able to keep their full attention all the way to the end. A one line message with a simple idea is something that everyone can follow.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/14/2014 | 11:21:46 AM
Re: In Praise Of...
I'll take a pithy cliche any day over "mission statements" or other communiques that take hundreds of words to say exactly nothing. I just read a long press release that conveyed zero hard information and mentioned to a colleague that I was in awe of the writer's ability to speak in BS.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2014 | 10:50:14 AM
In Praise Of...
>> I maintain that leadership clichés are necessary and powerful.

Yep

>> When your team's up against your organization's own goals, your team will know your priorities and vision and act accordingly. What do you think? To cliché or not to cliché? Authentic or lazy? Tell us what you think in the comments section.


After working for many large companies, I think I've settled on this advice to my team: "It is what it is"

not sure it's a cliche, but it seems to work
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