The Six Most Dangerous Phrases Used in Business

Sometimes the most simple and mundane phrases reveal more about your company than you think. 

While the following list might not appear to be overly controversial on first glance, these 6 phrases may reveal underlying issues within your company’s culture if they are used too frequently.

“But that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Doing something because that’s the way it’s always been done, is not always a good reason to continue to do it that way. Companies that grow and innovate are known for questioning preconceived assumptions and challenging the status quo. Getting stuck with what’s comfortable can be highly detrimental, and leaves you in a vulnerable position for competitors to challenge. 

“That’s not my problem,” “That’s not my job,”

Companies that thrive encourage a ‘team first’ approach, where people feel compelled to go outside the traditional scope of their role to achieve an outcome. The ‘it’s not my problem’ attitude is often a reflection of a competitive or toxic culture. 

“This might be a bad idea, but…”

For some reason many of us have a tendency to self deprecate. By making a statement like this before putting your idea forward, you have already diminished your credibility. People will be more likely to think it’s a bad idea if you have framed it that way. If you have an idea, and you believe in it, act assertively and take ownership for it. 

“That won’t work in our industry.”

Great businesses are able to learn from world’s best practice and translate that into something unique to their company. Your marketing team look to Nike for inspiration whereas customer experience might look to Apple. Yes, you might be operating in a an entirely different industry, but there are always principles and learnings that could be applied.

“The customer is always right.” 

This one can be slightly controversial. While it is important to take on board and listen to feedback from your customers, at the end of the day you cannot implement every bit of feedback and there are sometimes customer service situations where the customer is in fact, wrong.  In business you will never be able to please absolutely everyone, and by trying to do so, you may please no one. 

“Everyone else is doing it.”

The fact that ‘everyone else is doing it’ should never be a reason to dive head first into something new in business. When Instagram influencers took off every business started investing in an Instagram strategy. While for a lot of businesses this is a wise business decision, Instagram influencers certainly do not work for every kind of company. 

While it is definitely worthwhile staying abreast of and exploring new trends, don’t just jump on the bandwagon. Run every decision through the lens of: Why are we doing this? How will it benefit our business?

In the comments below, we’d love to know – what do you think are the most detrimental phrases used in the workplace?


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