The most overused business words you are tired of hearing

Almost a quarter of business leaders are suffering from ‘Transformation Fatigue’ and are tired of hearing this over-used management term.

According to the landmark Growth Drivers study, launched Tuesday by Brand Learning, 24% of business leaders think ‘Transformation’ is the most overused term in management and the term they are most tired of hearing about. ‘Millennials’ was the second most over-used term, with 16% of respondents suffering from ‘Millennial Malaise’ and tiring of the over-use of the term.

The global study is based on a survey of over 900 business leaders across 42 countries, as well as in-depth interviews with 70 CEOs and senior executives across companies including Diageo, Unilever, PepsiCo, BT, Microsoft, Dyson and Pernod Ricard.

Among the respondents who have successfully driven growth in their own organisations, the research revealed that the management terms so broadly used elsewhere to instigate or communicate the need for change are fast wearing thin.

The eight most over-used terms in management according to the global respondents are:

1. Transformation (24%)

2. Millennials (16%)

3. Disruption (11%)

4. Agility (9%)

5. Human Capital (8%)

6. Responsiveness (6%)

7. Purpose (9%)

8. Holacracy (1%) 

Growth Drivers, identified as companies with a sustained record of at least 6% annual growth over the past 3 years, confidence in their ability to meet their future growth goals and admired as growth drivers by business leaders globally - do things very differently to the competition. The study reveals the ‘Growth Code’ powering fast-growing organisations: a constant tuning of their capabilities to create a growth-ready organisation energised by involved employees and fuelled by momentum-driving leadership.

The Growth Drivers Study reveals that failing to properly communicate change across the business is a key challenge. Respondents criticised 'long emails where I have lost the will to live after the first line' and leaders who do 'a 2 hour presentation on the need for change then nothing else'.

The study also revealed that change management programmes often get lost in translation and there is a significant communication gap between CEO and C-suite respondents and mid-level managers. While 71% of CEO and C-suite respondents think their companies are agile today, only 45% of VP/directors and 53% of managers agree.

Mhairi McEwan, group CEO and co-founder of Brand Learning, says: 'Businesses need to stop talking about human capital and start to involve their employees, and their suppliers for that matter as 'humans' - people with spirit; with intellectual, physical and emotional needs. It is time for leaders to move beyond pure financial control to embrace a more purposeful, value driven concept of growth'.

Niall FitzGerald, chairman of Brand Learning and chair of the Growth Drivers Advisory panel, previously CEO and chairman of Unilever, and chairman of Reuters, commented: 'True Growth Drivers understand that it is the leaders’ behaviour not their rhetoric that matters. You won’t grow a business consistently unless people trust you. Embracing this growth agenda demands moving beyond lip-service leadership. It requires a shift in focus from generating short-term profit to creating a common purpose around growth which connects with individual employees and society'.

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