Monday, October 21, 2013

Strategy & Language

By Pascal Dennis

In the beginning was the Word...

So begins the Old Testament, which Canadian scholar Northrop Fry called The Great Code, the blue-print for Western culture.

Indeed, language reflects how we think, how we experience life, and who we are.

What's this got to do with strategy & strategy deployment?

Strategy is story-telling, strategy is language.

But what if our language is foggy?

What's a team to make of head-scratchers like the following?

"We will leverage our World Class Operating Capabilities” or “We'll reshape pricing tactics to effectively manage demand while sustaining market access.”

Mama mia - head for the hills!

Sorry, but such language often means the team is clueless.


"We really don't understand what's happening, so let's slather on the buzzwords!"

I'm lucky enough to be able to coach very senior leaders. My advice to them?

Ban fuzzy words & phrases!

Out with cliché! Down with the latest buzzwords!

Sayonara to 'leverage,' 'synergy,' 'disintermediation,' and 'robust' -- (to pick just a few).

PLAIN LANGUAGE, PLEASE!

We were lucky at our old Toyota plant.

Our Japanese senseis' grasp of English was very basic, which meant we had to express ourselves clearly & simply.

As a result, despite the language barrier, we communicated beautifully.

Best,

Pascal

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