This group of expressions was submitted by readers in response to my previous post on the topic. I have lots of expressions, but want to provide readers the opportunity to submit. My first three reader-submitted expressions that should be banned are:
#1: We are uniquely qualified [submitted by JH] — Come on! No one is uniquely qualified. And, if you are, this is actually a downside for selling to the Federal Government who seeks multiple sources for any product or service. In order to make any claim to “uniqueness”, you must be able to back it up with claims. I suggest that all superlative be avoided. Instead, consider using an expression such as “our past performance demonstrates” or “the qualifications of our team align with the Government’s needs”, or something similar. Every time I read a document with “unique” or “only” or similar claim to uniqueness, I instantly look for ways to discount it.
#2: … take appropriate measures … [submitted by JB] — What does this mean? State explicitly what you will do. Risk mitigation is a key part of any proposal. You must state how you will reduce risk. Be as specific as you can. Do not fear making a commitment. Are you going to apply additional resources, bring in a specialist, provide early notification, etc.? If you expect the reader to know what is appropriate, you will be sorely mistaken. You are viewed as the expert – act like on.
#3: Matrix Management [submitted by CB] — This is another way of saying “responsibility with no authority”. I will agree that there are times when a matrix organization works, although I cannot personally identify one. But this is a construct for organizations, not your customer projects. Customers want to know how you will organize to solve their problem. A matrix organization is not a project organization and does not make sense to customers. Explain the project organization that best meets their need with specific individuals responsible for working with the customer. Keep internal structures internal and out of sight to customers..
=> More to come in the next installment of “Banned Expressions”.
Do you have a favorite Banned Expression? If so, let us know so we can share it.