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OK, the real title of this post is ‘Landscape of ideas vs categories of actions. Tapestry of behaviours vs. culture. Your language will shape you’. Which, I have to say it was a mouthful. And you were just about to ignore it.

So thanks for reading a bit more. Look, I am worried about language. These things above: ‘Landscape of ideas vs categories of actions. Tapestry of behaviours vs. culture’.

These may be extreme examples of a ‘substitute’ (are they, really?) but the truth is, management language, and its dialects, are not terribly poetic. Beauty has been banned from corporate language. We are supposed to be unemotionally dry in case we catch the human aspect contamination.

“We will accommodate your concerns, if we have the bandwidth to do so, at this juncture, that is, so that we can leverage your ideas, at the right level of granularity”. Mr Martian Manager said.

Not even an uneducated Martian would write like this. But we do. It’s called Management Language.

Can we please have beautiful thoughts, instead of ‘right to the point’? Perhaps a tapestry of behaviours? Call me what you want, but I prefer landscape of ideas.

It’s hard to be moved by management language. Even motivational speakers motivate you via language tricks, jokes well-placed and a bit of shouting. That is why there is an industry of ‘after dinner speakers’. That is why I never do after dinner speeches. I can’t compete even with a bad Rioja.

I am very unfair with all this, I know. And, by the way, I don’t exclude myself from the temptation of dryness and the use of jargon.

Some humanity shots can be brought to our day-to-day business environments by not forgetting that the robots have not taken over yet, and that if you talk like a mum, or a dad, or a sister, of your best friend, or the guy at the newsagents, we all will live longer. Increase collective longevity by being human in the workplace. Thanks for the contribution.

A dose of detox is injected every time we talk like humans, not business school graduates. Give the blockchain what is the blockchain’s, and Joe what is Joe’s.

Every time I try to write non-business stuff, my brain looks for the double malt. It’s hard. I need to go to the mental gym.



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  1. Scott E. Fahlman

    “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”
    George Orwell

    It’s not just corporate-speak that lacks poetry and clarity. Government is worse. (OK, maybe not, but it’s a close contest.) There’s an agency called DARPA, part of the U.S. Department of Defense, that used to fund much of the computer science research in the U.S. After dealing with them for a while, I wrote a little guide to DARPA-speak for my colleagues. I seem to have lost the original, but some of the key points were:

    * There is a strict lower limit of five syllables per word and 25 words per sentence.
    * If you know what the sentence means by the time you’ve finished writing it, try again.
    * Acronyms, acronyms, acronyms! If you don’t have one, make one up, or consult ADBCAT@OBCENTCOM-NA. For you outsiders, that’s “Acronym Database and Catalog at Obfuscation Central Command, North America”.
    * There is no noun that cannot be verbed.
    * We’re part of the military, so use plenty of comic-opera Freudianism: “Our multiple thrusts into language understanding should be productive in penetrating to the core of the inner workings.”

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