In case you missed it, GM (the car maker with the current safety and recall problem) built a culture where employees couldn't say certain words. Curse words? Those may not have been encouraged, but they were better than any of the banned words, most of which revolve around safety.
More from the Detroit News:
"General Motors Co.’s decision in 2008 to instruct employees not to use words such as “defect,” “dangerous” or even “always” in describing problems contributed to a culture that discouraged honest and open communication on safety issues, federal investigators said Friday.
The confidential training directive on 68 words for its engineers to avoid — as well as acceptable alternatives — was among documents released Friday by U.S. safety officials. They imposed a record $35 million fine against GM for deliberate foot-dragging in the recall of 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches tied to 13 deaths and 32 crashes. GM agreed to the fine and other actions as part of a so-called consent agreement with the government.
David Friedman, the acting chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the training materials were part of a larger problem at GM, where engineers subsequently were reluctant to send reports with negative words up the chain of command."
I know, I know. You want a list of the words without going through the PDF in that article. Because I care, here they are for your evaluation:
always, annihilate, apocalyptic, asphyxiating, bad, Band-Aid, big time, brakes like an “X” car, cataclysmic, catastrophic, Challenger, chaotic, Cobain, condemns, Corvair-like, crippling, critical, dangerous, deathtrap, debilitating, decapitating, defect, defective, detonate, disemboweling, enfeebling, evil, eviscerated, explode, failed, flawed, genocide, ghastly, grenadelike, grisly, gruesome, Hindenburg, Hobbling, Horrific, impaling, inferno, Kevorkianesque, lacerating, life-threatening, maiming, malicious, mangling, maniacal, mutilating, never, potentially-disfiguring, powder keg, problem, rolling sarcophagus (tomb or coffin), safety, safety related, serious, spontaneous combustion, startling, suffocating, suicidal, terrifying, Titanic, unstable, widow-maker, words or phrases with a biblical connotation, you’re toast
There's so many good ones in there. Hit me with your favorite in the comments. I'm going with "Kevorkianesque", but the "rolling sarcophagus" has merit as well.
The moral of the story is pretty clear. If you restrict certain words in your culture that denote bad news, you're sure to get bad news - but you'll get it all at once and the market will deliver it to you - not the employees you orginally restricted.
Hat tip to Capitalist reader P. Hall.