33. Jargon Alert! Jargon Is Dead.
As frequent press release recipients, we're aware that corporate-speak isn't as robust or revolutionary as it could be. Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway, and Jon Warshawsky, a trio of former Deloitte Consulting execs, offer up their guide for honing business communications in Why Business People Speak Like Idiots (Free Press, March 2005). They identify four traps of corporate speak: obscurity (death by jargon), anonymity (death by templates), hard sell (death by perpetual sales mode), and irrelevance (death by generalization). Why we should listen: This is the crew behind Bullfighter jargon-killing software. Why we shouldn't: The book introduces its own jargon, such as "verbal obesity."
34. Smells Like Brand Spirit
What does your brand smell like? (Maybe we shouldn't ask.) Martin Lindstrom, a European branding expert, hits stateside positing the idea that the intersection of brand and the five senses is essential to seducing customers. His new book, Brandsense (Free Press, February 2005), looks at how our senses are manipulated and massaged by brands. Restaurants infuse "natural" smells in some foods, car manufacturers build some noise into performance engines so they can be recognized. Lindstrom, who got his start at age 12 consulting for Lego, says creating a sense memory goes a long way toward forging brand recognition and loyalty. Provocative, but we're not sure this will pass the smell test.
35. It's French for Productivity
Will sloth be the new workplace virtue? If you hate your job but can't afford to leave, maintaining an illusion of productivity may be the best recourse, writes French author Corinne Maier, whose Bonjour Paresse ("Hello Laziness") is a polemic/playbook for the actively disengaged. Shortly after the book was published, Maier's bosses at her day job called her in for a disciplinary review, prompting a spur in sales and plans for a U.S. edition next year. The book should strike a chord among the jaded millions and give us a good laugh at the mediocrity of corporate life. But can this very French idea stand up to our Puritan work ethic?
36. We Have a Class for You, Corinne
For companies concerned about actively disengaged employees, an exec-ed program called Full Engagement: Maximizing Performance in Business and Life, is an inexpensive way ($4,500) to get at the problem. The class, at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, aims to help execs reconcile work-life (er, time sovereignty) issues while gearing up for greater challenges. Offered in alliance with LGE Performance Systems Inc., a Florida-based consultancy that teaches the techniques pro athletes use to compete at world-class levels, the course revolves around the idea that managing energy, not time, is the secret to performing at peak levels. Physicals conducted on the first day give participants a snapshot of their energy levels; lessons on the role of nutrition and rest follow. Then comes the psychological reckoning: what matters most, as well as strategies for aligning one's values to work and personal life.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.