This month we’re talking about buzzwords we don’t like, mainly because they distract from clarity or the meaning of the word’s themselves.
These two words I don’t believe have become buzzwords quite yet, but as they gain momentum in mindful business communities such as Conscious Capitalism, I hope they are not re-purposed and thwarted by marketing people who insist on turning everything into a buzzword.
Thankfully in much of life and business, there is a growing movement concerned with being mindful and authentic. I believe this will drive humankind prosperity at the most intimate and important levels.
To me, this one is really simple. You can’t fake authenticity. You can’t calculate it. You can’t determine it based on market strategy and committee votes.
You have to be real.
You have to be you.
You have to be vulnerable and open to other perspectives.
You have to know something about who you are. For a company, that has a lot to do with understanding Why you exist. And so you must establish shared values in your culture.
So if you’re in a position where the conversation is leaning toward developing a strategy about how to be (appear) authentic, just leave the room and be yourself.
This is another term that’s used more commonly, particularly when describing a forward-thinking company’s approach to culture and business development via though leadership.
The reason I like this term is that ecosystem is a concept borrowed from nature. As mentioned above, this is a mindful approach since nature rarely rushes yet there is time for everything to get done.
My concern is that like so many other terms, it will be co-opted by people who don’t understand or don’t care what it means in a business context. They simply want to sound like the know the lingo, and their misuse of it will dilute the meaning of the word.
As with authenticity, building an ecosystem is something that takes real time and attention. Ecosystems are fragile by nature and this is one of their most important characteristics. They are far easier to destroy than build.
So using these terms flippantly runs exactly counter to the meaning behind them. By all means, if you are invested in being authentic and building lasting ecosystems, use these words. But if you’re just looking to latch on to a movement without doing the work, please say (and do!) something else.