I get a kick out of the buzzwords that come and go in business and media. Some of my favorites (the ones that set my teeth on edge) include: paradigm, let’s unpack this, zero sum game, life hack, productivity hack, hack this and hack that, side hustle and the latest little darling – at the end of the day.
Example: an article made up entirely of buzzwords: 89 Worst Business Buzzwords
The one that makes me most crazy is “disruptive.” We’re encouraged to create disruptive work environments, hire folks who are disruptive, raise disruptive ideas – and so on.
I did a search on the term and here are a few definitions:
- relating to or noting a new product, service, or idea that radically changes an industry or business strategy, especially by creating a new market and disrupting an existing one.
- a major disturbance, something that changes your plans or interrupts some event or process. (Ex: a screaming child on an airplane)
At first glance, it seems like a concept that makes sense.
But you know what? Not everyone is thrilled with the disruption that comes with certain “disruptive” ideas – or people. Yeah, we say we’re “change agents” and at the end of the day (there we go again) change is good. But if those changes conflict with our perception of how things ought to be or how people ought to behave, it doesn’t matter a whit if the results or outcomes are constructive or profitable.
And if someone we like or whose ideology we agree with disparages the idea or person, that’s all we need to know. Too many of us don’t do our homework. We take the easy way out, accept the talking points and avoid checking the facts. We overlook solutions to problems or dismiss them out of hand. Goodness knows, we are far, far better off believing a comedian or celebrity than digging deeper and making up our own minds. (sarcasm)
And then comes the worst part – we ridicule or demonize those who have the guts to step up and try something new – or those who may use unorthodox approaches.
Let’s ask ourselves these questions (quietly to yourself or at the next team meeting):
- When was the last time we jumped to conclusion because we disliked the messenger?
- How often do we look for solutions to problems outside of Google, Facebook or Twitter?
- How much energy have we used to quantify the results being achieved?
- What other solutions am I willing to propose?
- What are the outcomes I’m willing to face?
We all seem to want the whole enchilada – the perfect package. Me? I’m happy with an 80% solution. I’m betting most people are too, as long as they get constructive results.
Now, get on out there and be as disruptive as your conscience and blood pressure will let you!