..and a hundred other pithy, nonsensical phrases and statements that clutter our day.
None more ridiculous and colossally undefined, however, as my personal favorite, and one I hear frequently as a consultant to senior leadership:
Take us to the next level.
How do you/we know what’s next??
In the memorable words of Samuel Gompers (early union guy), when asked what worker’s really wanted, he replied, more. Is that all we’re talking about here? More?
I don’t get this “next level” stuff.
If we start with strategy, and define strategy as the purposeful, planned, vision of our future, and we attempt to create a working plan to achieve that future state… what, then is “the next level” in that context?
I’ve known businesses that successfully and substantially improved their quality of earnings while reducing or flattening revenue growth. Is that “next level?”
I’ve known CEOs who were incredibly intelligent, capable of personally developing, creating, and driving toward a purposeful strategy far different than the organization’s current direction and comfort. Is that the “next level?
Here’s a thought… how about we stick to block-and-tackling, even when it involves strategy and long-term change. We aren’t seeking a next level, we’re driving toward the direction, successes and results that we pre-determined through visionary strategy and on-the-ground leadership.
Now, if we weren’t doing any of that stuff before — maybe it is the “next level.”
But I don’t think so.