Buzzwords and catch phrases have become part of our business culture.  Often they express a complex thought or idea in a few words.  Unfortunately, when used too often or when spoken without the performance to back them up they can become cliché or even counterproductive.

One of the phrases that I love and hate the most is “Thinking outside the box.”  It expresses a very important idea for business and innovation.  The ability to see new solutions to our problems outside of what we or anyone else has been doing is very important and a characteristic of many of the great innovators.  But this phrase has been used so often with no performance, that it no longer has the meaning it should have.

IBM illustrated the problem this way:

So what’s the solution?  How do we avoid having buzzword bingo played in our organization?  The answer is simple in explanation, but often difficult in execution. We have to talk less and perform more.

Edison illustrated the solution when he stated, “I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing.” Showing that we can think outside the box will do more for our group or team then telling them that it is important. So let’s go out and perform with a “little less talk and a lot more action.”