These are commonly found uses of the expression ‘they’ within organizations.
- They won’t approve this
- They don’t get it
- They don’t listen
- I don’t know what they would think of this
- They are bad at execution
- They haven’t said anything yet
- They really don’t know.
And numerous others. The use of ‘they’ is almost mythical.
I have heard ‘they won’t approve this’ in the context of leadership teams referring to the Board of Directors, even when two members of that leadership team were also members of the Board of Directors.
I have heard ‘they are very bad at execution’ used by management teams to refer to their troops, even when every single member of that collective ‘they’ reported into somebody in that management team. So, if ‘they’ report to you, then the problem is you, not ‘they’! So, you, actually, are bad at execution.
I have heard ‘they don’t really know’ in a Board of Directors meeting, referring to both, external investors and employees. I have also heard the mythical ‘they’ in the same Board of Directors meeting, with no obvious reference to anybody, leaving me with the question of whether the real ‘they’ that they were referring to was the Holy Trinity or any other supernatural entity. I left the meeting with no clarity.
If anybody knows of a ‘they’ category (and a Social Security code?) please let me know, so that I can incorporate it to my organizational work. I would not like to miss them. They will never forgive me.
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