To find the right words, you need 15 degrees of separation

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Here’s what I’ve learned: for great writing, you need minds that don’t think alike. They have to think similarly, but there must be a bit of space between them. People come to me to find the right words. I especially like working with leaders of small organizations. They know who they are (or think they do). They’re … Continued

Avaya should learn the buzzword lesson of its own parody video

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Avaya put out an amusing video (embedded below) that pokes fun at all the buzzwords we use around the office (“disruptor,” “hit the ground running,” “seamless”). It’s embarrassing, since we all use these buzzwords. Including, unfortunately, Avaya. Here’s an excerpt of what it says on Avaya’s “Company Overview” page (I’ve highlighted the buzzwords and meaningless claims … Continued

Google’s new mission statement

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Writing as a Forbes contributor, Steve Denning makes a great point in his analysis of the failure of Google+, Google’s social network. “Google’s mission statement is clear and simple, but wrong,” he writes. Here’s that mission statement: Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As Denning puts it: … Continued

The parable of Ray’s Helicopter Company

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by Josh Bernoff Once there was a man named Ray who was the CEO of a company that made helicopters. In his youth he had been an avid pilot. Soon after, he started the company with a few friends. Over time, Ray’s Helicopter, as the company was known, grew rapidly to command an impressive share of the … Continued

Companies with a purpose

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Do your customers know who your company is? Do you? After my critique of Inovalon’s impenetrable “Who We Are” page, I began to wonder about purpose statements. My hypothesis is that companies with powerful, clear, differentiated statements about who they are have more effective employee teamwork and strong brands. Note that I don’t say that the statement causes … Continued