Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Being 'HIP' Isn’t Always Necessary

October 13, 2018

by Robert Stevenson

Several years ago, I received a call from my agent telling me I had lost a speaking engagement to another speaker because of a word I used in my video demo tape. In the opinion of the client’s meeting planner, the word I had spoken was an “out dated” term. I guess by using this supposedly out-of-date word, I wasn’t on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest "fad" in management.

The term I used was "paradigm." The word does have a little age on it. Paradigm first appeared in English in the 15th century, coming from the late Latin word paradīgma, and from the Greek word paradeigma; meaning "an example or pattern," and it still bears this meaning today. Since the 1960s, paradigm has also been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework, as when Nobel Laureate David Baltimore cited the work of two colleagues stating they had "really established a new paradigm for our understanding of the causation of cancer."

But, I shouldn’t feel bad, because I recently read an article in a prominent business magazine stating, “they were fed up with the word Synergize.” They further stated:

“This word has infiltrated nearly every cube and conference room in the country. Blame Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. (Habit No. 6 is Synergize.) Of this habit, Covey writes: ’To put it simply, synergy means two heads are better than one.’ The same advice was preached several decades earlier on the hit show Sesame Street. Big Bird called it ‘cooperation.’”

To me, it seemed the author was trying to make fun of Mr. Covey. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People sold 25 million copies and was published in over 40 languages … so, SYNERGIZE is okay with me.

The article went on to say we need to quit using the words Empower, Core Competency, Move the Needle, Corporate Values, Scalable, Best Practice, Solution and Drill Down. They didn’t offer what we should replace these words with … just don’t use them. Maybe if I drilled down further into the core competency of the author of the article I would find that they seldom offer scalable solutions or best practices for running a company; their article did however, help to empower me to write this article.

In our quest to stay up with the latest and greatest “management fads,” I feel we are losing sight of some really important concepts, values, and principles in making a company successful. The latest "management fad" isn't going to make your company successful. Old words like service, trust, respect, loyalty, diligence, fairness, and integrity should never be overlooked.

This morning I read in Forbes Magazine… “The next time you feel the need to reach out, shift a paradigm or leverage a best practice, by all means do it.” Forbes used that outdated word (paradigm) too, so I’m feeling better about my choice of words.

This meeting planner would probably have said of Plato, Socrates, Confucius, "Yeah they're good, but what have they written lately."  In between the business transitions from Total Quality Management to Business Process Reengineering (BPR), to Six Sigma to Lean Sigma, don't lose sight of some “good ole” out dated words. Service, trust, respect, loyalty, diligence, fairness, and integrity have served me well in my career even though I am still trying to break away from old paradigms which could be holding me back. Oops! I said it again.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

FREE Robert Stevenson newsletter

Why sign up for Robert’s weekly articles:

  • It is a great way to kick-off your week

  • It will motivate, inspire, educate, and challenge you

  • It will help to make you a better employee, leader, and person

  • He shares the insights he has learned from his clients and research

  • You will receive free a collection of his favorite articles

© 2020 Seeking Excellence A Robert Stevenson Corporation. All Rights Reserved