Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If my superiors had the opportunity to peruse the following article in greater depth then circle back offline, I'd be subject to disciplinary action

I'm really not a big fan of corporate speak, the morass of words and phrases people in corporate America seem to use when they want to make the nothing they are saying seem really important. When all we hear about is productivity, why waste time trying to craft something that nobody will try to understand?

Every time I hear it at work, I have to stop myself from literally cringing, because having a clearly negative physical reaction when my boss's boss says they're still blue-skying something would probably be bad.

At the same time, I also acknowledge that in a lot of companies, putting this kind of BS together is an important skill to have. It makes you sound smart, and if you manage people you can get away from actually telling them really bad news but clouding it in a haze of run-on sentences and unnecessary bluster (FYI, I completely realize that adding unnecessary bluster to this sentence was, in itself, unnecessary bluster, I just liked how that reads).

I'm bringing this up now because I got an e-mail before I left today that was possibly the Holy Grail of doublespeak. I know exactly what is going on in my company in terms of some major changes happening over the next 6 months, and I'm really not sure what this says. I'm going to delete some things in here that clearly relate to my company, but nothing that would make it harder to understand what was said, plus I'll put a quick description of what I'm blocking out in brackets and maybe a comment or two in parentheses. Here we go:


Just wanted to share additional progress that is being made (passive voice, excellent) as we transition to [operating as similar groups in our parent company do]. As you may have noticed, our partners from [some place in these United States] are here again on site this week to assist with the work needed to move forward with [new initiative].....we are getting closer to completion of the first phase! (um, yay!)

This week [same city as above] is assisting us through formalizing critical skills needed within the path for [my company]. Many of your peers have been asked to assist in this collaborative exercise (I think that was the word meetings extended to 5-6 words) as first hand input is tantamount to our success. These are data gathering sessions only which will assist us in ensuring we are capturing everything we do as a department.

As I had previously mentioned in our June department meeting, we expect to have Phase 1 completed during the 3rd quarter so please stay tuned. This is soon to be a very exciting time for this department with many good changes. There is a lot of work and this will be a transformation over time but anything worthwhile takes work, correct? I ask that you embrace this very positive transformation and understand that our goal is to improve the customer experience and provide you the tools and training to do your jobs as effectively as possible. After all you [awful new tagline that I wouldn't write if I could].

More to come.....please ensure any and all clarifications you may have are directed to me or your direct manager.

[My boss's boss]

It was painful to read that again. Am I missing something or does that pretty much say nothing? I think it's meant to be reassuring about some of the upcoming changes, but when it's written like this, isn't it just going to confuse more people and make things worse?

Either way, sometimes you have to acknowledge greatness, even if it's greatness in something you can't stand. So boss's boss, way to go, you're written something that I can't understand and if I hadn't been writing this blog probably would have deleted within 30 seconds of receiving it. I have an idea that may have been the intended outcome.

Listening To: Dropkick Murphys
About To: Start to maybe think about packing

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