Yesterday I saw a marketing person afflicted with a regrettably common malady. She was infected with the cliche virus and suffering from persistent verbal diarrhoea. Here's how she described her symptoms: " I'm always looking for a solution to my personal pain points with blue sky thinking. However I've reached a tipping point and can't go on." At this point she broke down.
The best test for discovering whether a person is infected is to listen to them talking about a company product or service and see if they sound like a brochure.
Cliche Excessivosa infections can spread rapidly throughtout a corporation. It is a hot air-bourne virus and marketing departments are especially susceptible. When a company CEO is infected the resulting company-wide infection becomes a corporate pandemic and every member of staff begins repeating the same cliches over and over again.
Treatment varies widely in its effectiveness and there is no silver bullet .... sorry, I was becoming infected myself then... standard prescribed treatment. Listeners are encouraged to tell sufferers firmly that such terms are meaningless and shouldn't be used any more.
Pushing a spoon handle up one of the infected person's nostrils has been tried. In the worst cases there is no effect whatsoever. In other cases personal violence has resulted.
All corporations are infected to a greater or lesser degree. If the HR department has become infected then career continuance can depend upon becoming infected and actually addicted to cliche-speak. At this point there is nothing to be done.
It's generally suspected that HP was one of the worse examples of corporate infestation with Carly Fiorina being a carrier. CEO removal was the remedy here. Even now, with recovery well in hand, HP staff are still constantly using the words 'agile' and 'adaptive' at every opportunity.
IBM is well known in the literature for being another recovering patient. It tries to hide its distressing situation by substituting fresh cliches for new ones. The latest one is 'on-demand' with older ones such as 'autonomic computing' being superseded.
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