Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Still be a Cliche'

Working in the business world we are all subjected to our share of clichés. Large companies live for the new cliché and the initiative that goes with the cliché. Every now and then a business cliché gets a little long it the tooth and we continue to use it even though we aren’t sure what it means anymore. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Ask forgiveness instead of permission. I learned this one working for a large Fortune 30 Corporation. Sometimes waiting on a critical decision from the higher-ups gives the customer time to shop and buy from the competition. When you see the writing on the wall, it’s best to beg forgiveness after you’ve taken proper action to make the sale or satisfy a customer need than to wait for permission to execute.

  • Taking it to the next level. All businesses want to take “IT” to the next level. But this leaves a lot up to the imagination. First, we need to know at what level we are operating now so that we can take "it" to the next level. What does the next level look like? Why don’t we just call a spade a spade and say, “Let’s grow our profit by 15% this year.”

  • Work hard, play hard. This essentially means, “burn the candle at both ends.” As a business owner, wife, community and church volunteer and mother of 2, I suggest recoining this cliché to, “Work hard, sleep hard.”

  • Pick the low hanging fruit. Sales professionals have all heard this one. It refers to grabbing the easiest and fastest business right away. Quality experts refer to it as improvements and innovations that can be implemented immediately. Go after business and innovations that are ripe for the picking. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you go after the low hanging fruit all day you might end up with sour grapes.

  • Under promise and over deliver. This is my favorite because it is the pinnacle of great customer service – providing more than is expected. It’s the polar opposite of being “close, but no cigar.” The challenge is actually trying to under promise without opening up a can of worms with the customer. If you said, “Well, Mr. Smith, I understand that you’d like your taxes completed by April 15th but I’m not sure that’s possible,” there’s a chance this client would hit the road!

But at the end of the day there’s nothing like a catchy cliché to prove your point and motivate your team. After all, it is important to think outside of the box!

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