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Michigan’s New Governor Leaves No Cliche Behind

As a candidate, Governor Rick Snyder advertised himself as “One Tough Nerd” and promised to use his experience as CEO of Gateway Computers to address Michigan’s serious problems. With business experience, however, comes business jargon; it’s no coincidence that the game of “buzzword bingo” originated among management employees whose days are filled with meetings and presentations.

Last night, I put off eating dinner to watch Snyder’s first State of the State address, hoping it would be a feast of cliches. The speech was much more than a feast; it would have left Adam Richman, the star of the Travel Channel’s “Man Versus Food”, begging for mercy.

Here’s a list of the more egregious buzzwords from last night’s speech:

  • agenda of action (which no doubt incorporates the “attitude of relentless positive action” he also alluded to).
  • benchmark
  • business acceleration services (since force equals mass times acceleration, these businesses will become an economic force)
  • core missions
  • developing clear paths (especially the “path to a bright future” he also spoke of)
  • dreams and goals
  • economic gardening (I think Snyder’s “pre-seed funds” have something to do with this, but I’m not sure)
  • embrace (not a boardroom cliche, but a much over-used word)
  • entrepreneurial networking
  • frivolous lawsuits (he is, after all a Republican governor; he also spoke of “reform,” took aim at “job-killing” regulations, and said that government shouldn’t “pick winners and losers”)
  • hub for global commerce (in the “global marketplace,” of course)
  • implementation
  • initiative (some of which are “groundbreaking”)
  • innovative, innovators (who, of course, will be “vigorously pursuing improvements”)
  • kick the can down the road
  • leadership (garden-variety leadership, as opposed to “aggressive leadership” and “aspiring leadership,” both of which he referred to)
  • let’s roll up our shirtsleeves
  • leverage (used as a verb)
  • “make the old unbelievable the new achievable” (a bad attempt at a Jesse Jackson riff; he used it twice)
  • the Michigan Dashboard (don’t look at this and try to read Snyder’s “road map” at the same time; you’ll be a distracted driver)
  • mentor (he also worked in “role models.” Bravo.)
  • no quick fixes
  • open source economic development
  • optimal use of tools (especially the “tools for success” he mentioned)
  • maximize the potential (otherwise, you’ll have leftover potential to deal with)
  • new endeavors
  • passion
  • partner (used as a verb)
  • positive incentive (which, presumably, would “positively impact” the economy)
  • proactively
  • reinvention of Michigan
  • real results for real people
  • recalibrate
  • relentless focus (because if you relent, you’ll lose focus)
  • scale (used as a verb)
  • seamless delivery of services
  • solution
  • specific acts for action (not a slip of the tongue; this awkward phrase was in the transcript)
  • talent coordinators
  • talent portal
  • task (used as a verb)
  • up and running (an allusion to his stint at Gateway?)
  • vibrant communities and schools
  • weathering the economic storms
  • But let’s give credit where credit is due. The governor refrained from using PowerPoint.

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