The Bland Strategy: Three Phrases I Hate

Tell me if you haven’t heard one of these lines at some point in your career:

“This will never work at our company.”

“Our managers won’t have a use for that.”

“Our employees aren’t technically savvy enough for that.”

Second verse same as the first…

I Can’t Stand Bland and Blandness

The first thing that bothers me is that these phrases lump all employees into a quiet, staid, lump of blandness.  These are people we are talking about…humans!  They do not experience and react to all things in the same way.  Some people will be thrilled to get an iPhone for their company phone; others will not care in the least. But rest assured they will all have different reactions.

The second thing that bothers me is that I usually hear these phrases about some kind of small change that has been blown way out of proportion. Here is the reality: your employee’s have already gone through a multitude of social,  technological and economic changes in the past few years, allowing them to use an iPhone at work or access Twitter is not going to alter their world.

When I hear those three particular phrases I think to myself:

  • You’re afraid your employees can’t handle change. News flash: your employee’s are the people leading change in our world today. Think of the Occupy movement or the Tea Party movement.  These were not movements started by some large company.  These were movements started by the Joe Schmoo Employee who was sick and tired of the status quo. The people who started and participated in these movements are not people who are afraid of change.
  • The status quo is easy and comfortable. Let’s throw out, easy and comfortable okay?  Can we all agree that the last thing we need is the status quo? The status quo may work for you now but it’s changing every day, today’s status quo is tomorrow’s has been.

Employees Are Not a Mass of Humanity

So please stop thinking so little of your employees.  They are not bland.  I know, I know after watching a couple episodes of Jersey Shore you might start to think people are stupid and the world is coming to an end.  But I assure you it’s not.  Stop looking at your employees as some mass of humanity that needs your gentle, guiding hand…they probably don’t.

Melissa Fairman is an HR practitioner who has worked in multiple industries and HR specialties. Her experience encompasses performance management, global HR systems, and other generalist work. Her passion is empowering people to help themselves in their careers. You can connect with her via her blog: HrRemix, Twitter @HrRemix, or email:


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Ashley Perez says

    Thank you for posting this. It drives me nuts when companies deny a change because the think it can’t be done since it’s never been done before. How would a business or employees progress if they are forced to play it safe by sticking to what they know?



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