Innovation is a management buzzword . In fact, it has been the buzzword for so long, you could say we’ve developed a cult around it. There is only one problem:  We managers might love innovation. But most of our employees hate it. The word “innovation” might speak to your external stakeholders, but when it comes to engaging your employees, it’s time to stop using the word. Research shows why:

The Nobel Prize winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman has spent more than six decades researching how people make decisions.  His finding?   The “lizard brain” — the primitive part of that is all about fear, fight and flight — is nearly always in charge of our decisions. So, while you might use the word “innovation” to mean “improvement,” employees are hearing alarm bells ringing “Danger! Danger!” and there’s no time to put a positive spin on it.

Whatever term you choose, make it about your audience — not you, not your PR department and or not the next big Davos announcement. That way, innovation might actually stand a chance.