“I think we invent jargon because it saves times talking to one-another.” — John Maynard Smith
Every industry has unique jargon, and most people fall, at one time or another, into using terminology specific to their domain of expertise. Some of the time this is unavoidable because, well, that’s how those things are defined. Other times, people use jargon as a shortcut and a crutch, avoiding plain spoken language in a mistaken belief that they have more important things to say than they do, or that their words carry more weight, or that everyone else knows what the hell they’re on about, a conclusion which is dubious at best.
Which all got me thinking, how much of this sort of thing really exists in the conference room? How much corporate patois exists for no other reason than to fill dead air in an attempt to sound important? How much is just shorthand for something we can’t be bothered to explain clearly? How much of the average business meeting is padded by the corporate equivalent of public speaking’s great nemesis, the “um?” How much of our day is spent flinging meaningless aphorisms on hapless passersby who mostly wish you’d just sent an email instead?
To wit: how many synergies does a single pane of glass view of a cross-platform framework for collaboration really need, after all? Is that actually a paradigm shift? And since when did business become anything other than results-driven? Is customer delight different than keeping our customers happy? Is it different than having a client focus? Are deliverables something we actually deliver, or are they just more verbified nouns?
What is the big picture, and how is it different from a small picture? Are table stakes an investment in tables, something with which to kill vampires, or are we actually talking about table steaks? If it’s the latter, do the vegetarians mind? Am I just out of the loop, dropping the ball, or a victim of someone moving the goal posts? I was already upset my cheese got moved. I guess I don’t know the game plan.
How many miles must I have traveled before I can go the extra mile, and how do I put all of this to bed before I drop the ball? And if I don’t, does the ball go through the goal posts? Are we on the same page? Do I have a line of site on the negative optics here? Is an optic more than a noun now; did it become another victim of wanton verbification? Am I just too blind to see?
I’ve always thought low-hanging fruit is the most convenient kind, but is that best practice? Maybe we should take this offline. But if we’re offline why do I care about my bandwidth? What’s the big picture here? I’m not yet certain, though as I write this on premises, I believe I’m developing a premise and have added some value.
Rigor and discipline sounds like a BDSM movie title, but maybe that is what leads to customer delight. We’ll have to drill down on that to find out, especially if it’s your core competency. And at the end of the day, what is wrong with the morning? If you dialog at me can we put this to bed? Is this all actionable, or is it too far outside the box?
Is a thought leader someone who creates centers of excellence with their ability to drill down? Do they find the strategic fit, get people on the same page, or push the envelope? How many thought followers does a thought leader need before earning that moniker? Will someone please loop me in? We might be under the gun here and I really need to touch base with our automated global process in order to appear action-oriented. We’ll revisit that later.
Then again, maybe I need to just stay in my swim lane until I’m up to speed, and before I circle back for a client focused win-win with better optics. I certainly don’t want to drop the ball as I push the envelope, especially if it’s a strategic fit and nobody has moved the goalposts. I guess you might say that I’m putting a stake in the ground. I’m keeping my steak, though; writing all of this argle bargle has made me hungry.