Ban these habits and clichés, now


Indulge me this month while I deviate from writing about the remodeling market and instead write about business in general. Specifically, I’m going to address some clichés, phrases and bad habits heard and observed each day in offices and on jobsites around the country. Some are simply annoying, and some are wrong; I’ll explain why.

It’s not my job
I don’t use the word hate too often, but I truly hate this phrase, and you should too. There’s no room for it. Period. And there’s no room for anyone who says it. Workplaces around the country are filled with people whose professional behavior is based on this phrase, whether they say it out loud or not. You know they think it, and you know who they are. These people have limited ability to contribute to the growth and success of any business, and limited potential for advancement. There’s a place for people like this, but not in my world, and hopefully not yours.

Have you ever worked for an over-delegator? Someone who always has work for you, but doesn’t seem to do much work of his/her own? I supervise a small team of editors and I believe they’d tell you I’m fair when balancing our work loads. It has taken much effort to be comfortable balancing what I delegate. I never overload one person more than another or beyond his/her capabilities, and I remember to ask if they’re comfortable taking on whatever task I’ve assigned. But, at the same time it’s important to push people and raise expectations. My worst nightmare is for someone to say about me, “Rob makes everyone do everything and he does nothing.” Hopefully it’s your nightmare, too.

Giving 110 percent
Perhaps no cliché annoys me more than this one. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because it’s impossible to give more than 100 percent effort. Yes, it’s possible for revenue to increase by 110 percent, or for an investment to produce a 110 percent return, and for a (bad) baseball player’s batting average to be 110 percent, but it’s impossible for someone to give 110 percent effort. Just say 100 percent and we’ll understand what you mean.

Added bonus
The problem with this phrase is redundancy. A bonus is a bonus; you don’t need to include the word “added” in front of it. The dictionary on my desk lists the definition of bonus as, “Something in addition to what is expected.” So, by saying added bonus you’re saying an added addition. See what I mean?

Thinking outside the box
The problem with this cliché is that while you might be thinking outside your box, chances are you’re thinking inside someone else’s box. Your idea might be new to you, but it’s probably not new. Maybe the better way to say this is, thinking outside our box. Another problem with this phrase is the size of the box. Who defines what’s in it? And, when you come up with an idea from outside your box, isn’t that idea now within your box? Hurts my head.

It is what it is
I’ve used this phrase many times in business and personally. While vague, it also clearly conveys one’s feelings, which is that whoever said it either doesn’t care to change a situation or is unable to change it. I can’t decide if I like this phrase or not.

Now more than ever
Stop it. Just stop it.

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