Words That Deserve to Disappear in 2010


Mon 28 December 2009 By Cheryl McKinnon

Please consider this post to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, in the spirit of out with the old and in with the new as we close out 2009. But as a marketer and passionate defender of the importance of ECM, there are a few expressions and terms that deserve a rest - or at least a rethink of how and why we use them.

(In no particular order)

Compliance


This term has been bugging me for years. No - I am not suggesting that companies neglect requirements to protect, secure, disclose or destroy records or establish clear retention and access rules.  But the term "compliance" has been tossed around as lazy shorthand by ECM vendors and consultants for years.  I often want to scream - Compliance? ... WITH WHAT?  Compliance does not mean records management. Nor does records management mean compliance.  The term means entirely different things to different audiences - the SOX officer, the HR manager, the ISO 9000 auditor, the Webmaster - all have very different requirements to be compliant with the specific laws, rules, standards or policies that affect their work.

Compliance as an end goal is wrong. Compliance should be the natural outcome of doing good business. Let's be a little more specific as vendors. 
And using 'compliance' as a some vague threat to throw cold water on technologies that accelerate collaboration, network building and innovation is dead in my books.

Brand 


The next social media guru who starts spouting off about "personal brand" better actually have a red-hot iron in his hand and be prepared to use it.  Nothing screams phony more than a carefully crafted online persona with photoshopped avatar and stream of tweets that sound like a bumper sticker. I'm much more a fan of an authentic voice - a consistent personality that seems real whether in person or online. A semblance of humility, eagerness to learn, and a willingness to share.

'Brand' has become so terribly overused - it's the default term when really what is meant is "company", "product", "reputation", "values".  Why not say what you mean?

Strategy

Everything today is called 'strategic'. Guess what? No. It is not.  Strategic is that which has a game plan crafted like a chess player -  a set of moves mapped out several in advance, and accomodating for a range of options beyond your control. Supporting a new platform, implementing a new process, most technology alliances - really are opportunistic and tactical - not strategic. Let's not over-inflate.  And what's wrong with the tactical? Strategy is useless without the execution. More people and companies need to focus on talking up their execution success, and worry less about being perceived as strategic. Maybe it's just me, but when I read a LinkedIn profile that is all about strategic thinking, I wonder... that's nice, but what can you do?
 
Evangelist
This term conjures up a visual of the 1990s for me: the phony fire and brimstone TV performer but wearing the dotcom uniform of khakis and a company-logoed golf shirt.  If you have to tell someone you're an evangelist, you probably aren't. Evangelist is not a job title, it's a state of mind. And as the tech market matures, aren't we getting tired of the cult of personality telling us what to believe?  Why don't we all work harder to become educators instead.


I had a couple of other suggestions via Twitter last week... "alignment", "resource" and "enterprise". What sayeth you? What other terms are ready for a rest?



Category: Industry Insight