Download Change Management Buzzword Bingo Sheet!


A little bit of fun no? Help yourself …

Seriously, sometimes working in change does feel like a perpetual game of buzzword bingo. And to be honest, I do think that sometimes we have to take a moment and look at the language we are using. Is this the best word we could use? Does it mean what we think it means to the people we are using it with?

Here’s my top 25 buzzwords and phrases that get bandied about. I’m sure you’ll add your own in the comments…

  1. Capturing hearts and minds: Aaaaghhhhh. Stop it. Stop it now. This is too clichéd. And may be way over the top for what you need to do.
  2. Agile: Note the big “A” — are you using it as an adjective (small a) as opposed to a large A (the methodology
  3. Benefits realisation: jargon for does your change pay off. Never use it outside of a business case!
  4. Rightsizing: Shudder. DO NOT USE. There is nothing right about laying people off, because you have made poor decisions.
  5. Paradigm shift: Thought it went out in the 80’s? Apparently not…
  6. Air-gap. A new one doing the rounds — it’s an IT network computing term, which means one computer is isolated from the others. It’s being used to describe teams that won’t talk to each other.
  7. Take them on a journey. Please stop it. All I can think of is National Lampoons Vacation.
  8. Disruption. One man’s disruption is another man’s discomfort. Be very careful about using this one…if its new for you it may not be disruptive for others.
  9. Time box: A project planning term which means thinking about deliverables in a fixed period of time. It should not be used as a verb. That’s just sloppy.
  10. Purpose driven: Nothing makes a change more noble than making sure it’s purpose driven…
  11. User adoption: Only to be used in IT change — otherwise you are being horrible to your employees.
  12. Collaborate: So so misused. Collaboration has impacts that are bigger than simply working together. It doesn’t mean play nicely.
  13. Grab the low hanging fruit: Or just find things that are easy to fix. Don’t forget low hanging fruit are exposed to the elements. Can rot quicker.
  14. Future Ready: A brand that every corporate change agenda uses… but here’s the thing. The future never arrives…
  15. Pivot: Once applied to strategic changes in the lean start up world, now seems to mean “oops, doing something different”
  16. Herding cats: I think we are doing cats a disservice here. Put some food down, they line up fast.
  17. Socialise the document: You mean share or send some-one a document for comment? Pass me the G&T…
  18. Change ready: Yep, in your dreams…
  19. Touch base and dialogue: God no, just no! You’re doing it wrong!
  20. Change champion: Only if they get to wear a sheriff’s badge…and stand on a dias.
  21. Drinking from the firehose: You mean you are overwhelmed? Then say that. Unless you have firemen as your change champions. TOTALLY different story.
  22. Synergistic: You mean it all fits together? Well pretty sure that was the intent.
  23. Hyperconnected: Ooh…so your internal organisation is connected to your external stakeholders. As it should be. Not too frenetic that one. Try uber connected.
  24. Holistic: Make sure it really is greater than the sum of all its parts. Holistic is more than organisational wide.
  25. Transform: ONLY to be used if something will truly change to something that can’t be imagined. Other wise it’s a step change. Oh wait… another buzzword bingo sheet?
Dr Jen Frahm – Author of Conversations of Change: A guide to implementing workplace change.


  1. Gail Severini says:

    Confession … I love buzz words. Hard to give them up. But … I … must.

  2. D. Scott Ross says:

    Love the list. All cringe-worthy. Started a similar list at an ACMP convention, over drinks with friends. It turned into an ACMP presentation a year or two later.. Minor nit – dais, not dias. Keep up the good work. Words matter.

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