15 Mar In Your Career, Space ISN’T the Final Frontier
I got pulled into a Black Hole a number of years ago.
Well, not in the literal sense but the feeling must have been somewhat similar to the deep space version – or at least I tell myself it was.
A deep empty void – confusing – without definition – and seemingly endless.
Mine was not quite as far reaching – there was oxygen there though it seemed to be seeping out at a rapid rate.
My guess is that many of you have experienced something similar – if you are in the business world I guarantee it.
At the time I was crafting a business proposal and an action plan. Generally a fairly simple process – until I got “crossways” with what I now call “corporate speak.”
Corporate speak represents the sometimes contradictory, always confusing organizational language most companies create to try and express basic principles in a way that few to no one really understands – best characterized by overlapping waves of additional verbiage to further confuse.
(And yes, I went out of the way to make the above definition a true reflection of “corporate speak.”)
Let me give you an example – I subsequently created a notebook of terms to record/remember these. If you are charged with running some portion of a business my guess is you will recognize catch phrases that would make the comic strip character Dilbert proud.
Here are just a few we toss out when we want to find a way to express key factors associated with a Business or an Action Plan…(and if these in some way make you a bit nauseous I apologize in advance.)
The list includes:
- Strategic Milestones
- Key Performance Indicators
- Strategic Pillars (remember, anything with strategy attached to it HAS to be good)
- Mission Imperatives
- Critical Success Factors
- Business Priorities
- Lead Indicators
- Lag Indicators
- Vision Statement(s)
- Organizational Mission Statement(s)
- Purpose Statement(s)
- Value Statement(s)
- Strategic Imperatives (note earlier comment about the intrinsic value of any phrase that attaches “strategic”)
- Strategy (hey, I had to have it there somewhere)
OK, you get the picture.
This is not intended as an indictment of business planning. But it’s not planning that makes the difference – it’s execution.
I share this because sometimes we can’t manage to get out of our own way – and unknowingly introduce our own impediments to effective execution.
I remember leaning over to a colleague at a meeting once and asking for clarification on a phrase that had been dropped into the dialogue.
I had never heard it before.
Her answer was priceless.
“Does it really matter?”
Here’s what I learned.
- Simplicity is powerful – VERY powerful.
- Not every topical phrase of the day has to make its way to your company – and if it comes from a select few who’ve fallen in love with the sound as it slips off their tongues then you can assume it will not resonate.
- Consultants (and today I am one) carry a lot of stuff with them. Some of it actually helps a company improve its bottom line. A lot of it is just….well, stuff. Draw your own conclusions.
- Most companies need a clearinghouse to remove ambiguity – and yet siloes continue to build that complicate.
- Someone somewhere could make a million bucks just compiling a working Company Thesaurus – but the weekly updates would make it all but impossible.
I survived my Black Hole – and eliminated 80% of the terminology around planning and execution.
Today I carry with me a working tool that we use with clients to effectively “kill the little darlings” that frustrate and confuse across a broad array of topics.
It’s a powerful exercise – some would say cathartic.
Less can be more.
But if I were really smart I would give a lot of thought to the Thesaurus thing.