It’s easy to make fun of business clichés. Tempting to string a bunch together in a blog post or a memo and show how clever you are. Harder, though, to avoid using them.
I think they exist to hide. By providing a layer of insulation between what you say and the truth, you can avoid saying what you mean, avoid confrontation and avoid change. Clichés make it easy to talk without really saying anything. Clichés make it easy to hide and to lie.
Does anyone really think Karl Rove is going off to spend more time with his family? Does he even know the names of the people in his family? Did the people at Ford Motor really drop everything to make quality job one, or was it just marketing tinsel?
The few people who actually mean it when they use clichés are now frustrated because no one believes them any more. The entire lexicon is discredited.
Let’s save time and effort and say what we mean. Here’s my start on finding the best of the worst: The Encyclopedia of Business Cliches. Feel free to robustisize it.