“This isn’t a period, it’s a comma, in the continuing story that is America,” Obama said when leaving office.
Well, very often we don’t get our organizational punctuation right.
New CEOs come in and declare a full stop, period, new paragraph. But people may expect a coma, a la Obama. Other people are craving for a bit of semicolon: please explain what so and so means.
We hire Big Consulting Groups whose grammatical expertise is the parenthesis, a big parenthesis in which all stops.
Corporate communications often provide the exclamation marks, and HR the spell checker.
What about the question marks? Do we want them? Allow them? Seek them? In corporate life, the quote attributed to Neil Postman [1931-2003], applies: ‘Children enter school as question marks and leave as full stops’. But we don’t even have to leave the company to get quite domesticated with full stop production. People with lots of question marks could be enormously irritating.
I guess getting the corporate grammar right is a great leadership skill. Leaders who provide full stops when a coma is due, or a coma when the full stop is, or exclamation marks in the form of corporate reports when it all should end as a question mark, etc., are walking miss-spellers. Confusion is then inevitable.
Just remember that a little piece of grammar ( filioque ) in the form of a single word caused the schism between the Eastern Orthodox and Western churches in Christianity! No kidding. Let’s get our organizational punctuation right.
I promise you that these Daily Thoughts belong to the coma tribe.