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Words We Avoid & Words We Love to Use

Words We Avoid & Words We Love Using at Spinutech

By Marc Reifenrath on August 19, 2016 in Company News

Having a great culture and telling people you have a great culture are two different things. Many companies talk about how great their culture is all the time. If I’m being honest, this really annoys me. A company can’t will their way into great culture, it takes more than that. It takes team members who are truly passionate about the company they work for. Is our culture perfect? Not by any means. Is it something we are all proud of though? You bet it is!

A key element of our culture is some of the language that I as a leader am sensitive to. Below is a short list of words I try not to use and also encourage others to not use. Don’t worry, this list won’t be filled with %@#$, $#@#$# or $^%*@.

Words we avoid


We look at everyone as a part of the team. I'm sure I have referred to a team member as an employee before. But each team member is critical to our success. I feel referring to a team member as an employee diminishes their value to the company. Referring to each person as a team member is a much more accurate description.


It’s really easy to say "don’t do that" or "don’t try that." "Don’t" carries a negative connotation. As with all of these words there is a context in which it is appropriate, but this is one to use sparingly.


This is an easy one. How many times do you hear “I can’t” and you cringe. There is always an alternative or another way. So instead of saying “I can’t” how about saying “I know you’d like to have X, but we feel a better way to solve the same problem is to do X.” That removed the negativity from the situation.


This word just implies stubbornness, laziness and just not wanting to comply. Telling someone you “won’t” do something that is possible is disrespectful. Again, there are situations where this is the perfect word, but we are looking at the negative ways.

Easy (lump “simple” into this as well)

The word “easy” implies that the task at hand isn’t valuable. If you stop and listen to yourself I bet you say it all the time. Even when the task at hand is time consuming and difficult.

Words we use daily

Just as important are the words we don’t use are the words we do use. We like words that are positive; that build the team and support it. We really like words that spark curiosity and the desire to learn. Here are a few that I feel are key to building a consistent narrative internally that is positive and supports our goals.

Thank you

When you are busy and in the middle of projects it’s easy to forget to say a simple “thank you.” Whatever you do, try to show gratitude and appreciation for hard work. Maybe “thank you” isn’t your word, but whatever it is don’t underestimate the power of recognizing hard work.


We like to ask why often. Why are we doing it this way? Why did this work or why didn’t it work? When you ask why you are forced to unravel things at a deeper level. Gaining this understanding is a really good way to help learn, grow, and simply get better at what we do.


Similar to “why” when you ask “how” it forces deeper thought to ultimately produce a smarter solution.

I’d challenge you to think about the words you do and don’t use. Then ask yourself why. How could a few changes in your vocabulary impact your team, your organization and your bottom line?

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