5 words and phrases we should ditch in 2018

Are thought leaders actually taking your disruptive business to the next level? Perfect. Grateful to have these vacuous terms called out? Hey, no worries.

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Here are five terms that have worn out their welcome (if a welcome was ever extended):

1. Thought leader(ship). An executive who cobbles together old ideas—along with a dollop of the flavor of the month—into a blog post or mission statement does not qualify as a thought leader. Save this term for—no, on second thought, don’t save it at all. If you have an innovative exec, call her an innovator. A prominent figure in a given field? A leading industry voice. The alternatives might not be brilliant, but at least they won’t evoke eye-rolling and stifled chuckles. If you call yourself a thought leader, well, you deserve all the raucous derision you get.

2. Take X to the next level. This is as meaningless as it is prevalent in business writing. Unless you sell escalators, relegate this blather to the basement. If you are improving or accelerating a campaign or expanding a business, say so. Offer specifics.

3. Disruptive. Know what’s disruptive? Tossing a pumpkin into a punch bowl at a party, or skateboarding down a long conference table. Someone—somewhere, sometime—coined this fetid term, and it gathered steam. Time to pull the plug.

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