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The Most Annoying Workplace Words or Phrases of 2013

by and on December 22, 2013 4:00 PM

Another year of game-changing decisions, radical breakthroughs and thinking outside the box.

Engagement, networking and a lot of moving parts helped us get all of our ducks in a row.

We did more with less and a guru helped us ideate to achieve scalability.

Regardless, I could only dream of combining big data and thought leadership to make it happen.

The bottom line is it’s time for the adult in the room to take ownership and sacrifice to achieve alignment of my 13 Most Annoying Workplace Words or Phrases of 2013:

13. Innovation — People use it to describe ordinary rather than extraordinary actions. Instead, let’s innovate how we use the word innovation.

12. Pivot — If your political campaign, business strategy or sports team is failing, simply say you plan to “pivot” in another direction.

11. I could care less — People think they are emphasizing how little they care. But, if you could care less, you would. I couldn’t care less if you use it correctly though.

10. A mute point — If you want to convey a “speechless point,” use mute. But a moot point is one that doesn’t matter.

9. Bandwidth — The term became common when talking about internet usage and morphed into a description of resource allocation. I just don’t have the bandwidth to say any more.

8. Unique — The word means one of a kind, not unusual. Push the envelope of misuse by saying something is very unique.

7. Passion — Meant to describe intense emotion, passion is now used in job interviews, during staff meetings and to describe what one enjoys. I have a passion for Oreos and milk. Right.

6. Transparency — The truth is that increased use of this descriptor for being open and honest almost moved it into the top five.

5. Moving forward — As opposed to Moving Backward in time, this one describes what will happen in the future.

4. Leverage — As a noun, it means to maximize advantage. Turning leverage into a verb describes how a situation can be manipulated. I guess you could leverage your leverage.

3. Robust — Sure, coffee can be robust. But most products, services and activities aren’t really strong and vigorous.

2. Let’s take this offline — Hopefully, you won’t be out of pocket so we can circle back and take this offline.

1. Literally — I literally can’t write any more overused phrases. Oops. That would mean I was physically unable to do so.

At the end of the day, you might push back on my list. But, it is what it is. Literally.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

David is president of MASSolutions Inc. For more information, visit
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