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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Are You Playing Buzzword Bingo?

Today is Leadership Day 2012.  Amazing leaders from all over the world are contributing to a powerful, dizzying array of posts that you can find here.  For my #LeadershipDay12 I have been thinking a lot about a game that many leaders do not even know they are playing.  The video below best exemplifies the leadership game of "buzzword bingo".


Listen carefully when people speak about the work that they are doing.


  • Are they speaking in a series of code words that ultimately mean very little?  
  • Are they playing buzzword bingo without even knowing it? 

It is easy to fall into this trap since there is always a new word, term, acronym that describes the next greatest thing.   Many leaders are focused on "preparing students for the 21st century" even though we are almost 13 years into the decade.  You will undoubtedly read posts about  #BYOD, #BYOT, or even #BYOB.  You may start the new year with a focus on flipping, a multitude of mobile missions, or even an eye on iPads, iPods, and iTunes U.

The buzzwords mean very little by themselves.  That's why so many reform initiatives or revolutionary ideas fail.  We often never move past the words into the real actions that make a difference.  Leaders must move beyond buzzwords and into the work that really matters.  This work starts by framing the WHY behind your initiatives. 

For Example:
  • Why are we going mobile?  How are we going to do the work?  What do we expect to accomplish?

For #LeadershipDay12 I am challenging all leaders to stop playing buzzword bingo.  Drop the acronyms, forget the new catchphrase and focus on the work that needs to be done.  



1 comment:

  1. Hello Brian. My name is Meghan Brewer. I am an elementary education major at the University of South Alabama.
    I found your post, "Are You Playing Buzzword Bingo?" to be very interesting and extremely appropriate considering all of media attention surrounding the coming presidential election. I think that leaders (especially politicians) often times do hide behind "buzz words" that they very rarely back up with any real action. It seems as though there is a kind of script that they all use. The script is meant to grab our attention, stir our conviction and ultimately win our votes. The problem is, after the energy of speeches fizzles out, we are left with leaders that many time choose to simply discard everything they said. The problem with buzz words is that they distract us. You are absolutely right in saying that this is why many reform initiatives fail. It is the actions of everyone, especially our leaders that matter way more than the words.
    I will definitely remember to ask "why?" the next time I hear a political candidate's speech because I definitely want a leader who will do the work, not just sell me some shiny words.

    Class blog: edm310classblog
    My blog: Meghan Brewer's Class Blog

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