Ban These 5 Words

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Denise Lee Yohn, a leading authority on positioning great brands and building exceptional organizations, bans the following terms in every “Corporate Values” statement.

  • Ethical (or integrity) — Every company should operate ethically and with integrity — and by stating this concept as one of your core values, you raise the question of why you have to point it out.
  • Teamwork (or collaboration) — You shouldn’t need to tell your people to work together — it’s common sense. If they’re not working collaboratively, listing it as a core value isn’t the solution. (Things like organization design, training, improved processes, and new shared metrics and performance standards are.)
  • Authentic — You can’t claim to be authentic or that you want to be — you must simply be authentic. And your organization will be authentic if its leaders actually act and communicate in authentic ways.
  • Fun — Stating that you want your organization to embrace fun makes it seem like you’re trying too hard. Just like a teenager who claims to be cool, if you have to say it, you’re probably not.
  • Customer-oriented (or customer-centric) – Again, all companies should be attuned to their customers and their wants and needs. Developing a core value that explains the unique way in which you engage with your customers would be far more differentiating and meaningful.

The detailed article can be read at