26 Most Important Words in Business

The second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words in current use. Here are the 26 most important for businesses.

The second edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. Many, if not most, of these words have been used in the thousands of business books now in print. Our alphabet includes 26 letters. The popularity of Twitter shows how much can be communicated in only 140 characters. What follows is my best guess on the 26 words (ABCs) most important to business. It took me about an hour to make my list. It’s neither right nor wrong – it’s merely my best guess. This list is like manure – it may help you grow, or it may just stink up your operation. What will be important to you is your list. Take an hour or two and work through the process. I hope your best guess is better than mine and works for you.
  1. Arrogance – it is the seed of failure – don’t let it take root in your organization
  2. Be – Your “be” is the heart and soul of you, your team and your organization.
  3. Commit – commit to your beliefs and vision. Don’t be involved, be committed.
  4. Do – what you “do” is the decisions you make – Align your “do” and your “be.”
  5. Expectations – know the expectations of your stakeholders and exceed these.
  6. Focus – Zero in on your goals with laser-like intensity.
  7. Goals – identify specific objectives that will ensure achievement of your vision.
  8. Humility – you are only as good as your next (not last) success – stay humble.
  9. Innovation – the marketplace is revolutionizing itself daily; you must innovate.
  10. Jubilation – work hard and celebrate every effort and success – be happy!
  11. Knowledge – convert data to usable information and then actionable knowledge.
  12. Living – the world is changing; create a living system, not mechanical processes.
  13. Mutual – it’s not about you or them but rather us – agree on a mutual purpose.
  14. Negotiate – command and control is yesterday – negotiate meaning for tomorrow.
  15. Observe – talk less - observe the marketplace, listen (squint your ears), learn.
  16. Passion – nothing sells like success, have passion for who you are and what you do.
  17. Quiet – take time for calm – stop, look, listen – learn – grow quietly.
  18. Rebound – you will fall – pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.
  19. Structure – create a framework for your team so their energies can be focused.
  20. Technology – IT ensures efficient administration and effective relationships.
  21. Unique – success is standing out in the crowd – be different – be unique.
  22. Values/Vision matter - these are the foundation today and the horizon tomorrow.
  23. Why? What? Who? When? – ask the right questions and discover best answers.
  24.  “X”ceptional – provide exceptional service - exceed all expectations.
  25. Yearning – never get complacent – always hunger to be the best by doing better.
  26. Zealot – Align “who you be,” “what you do” and “what you want”; be fanatical.

Mike Manes

Profile picture for user mikemanes

Mike Manes

Mike Manes was branded by Jack Burke as a “Cajun Philosopher.” He self-defines as a storyteller – “a guy with some brain tissue and much more scar tissue.” His organizational and life mantra is Carpe Mañana.


Read More