Do your organisation a favour – hunt and kill jargon

One of the most powerful ways for a CEO to impact their culture is to eliminate business jargon and encourage clear communication

The scariest part of the Dilbert Mission Statement generator (www.dilbert.com) is how familiar the phrases generated appear to us. It is easy to fill a whole presentation with impressive sounding language, that collectively, means nothing. And none of the audience dares to say that the Emperor has no clothes.

Dropping the jargon creates clear communication. You have to actually say what you mean, and be clear about what you are going to do.

And that leaves you vulnerable.

Jargon lets you get away with fuzzy thinking. If you communicate clearly, your colleague can actually judge if your ideas are any good. If you communicate exactly what you are going to do, you are exposed to failing to achieve it, without any chance to move the goalposts later. As Warren Buffet said, “You don’t know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.”

You can get an accurate sense of how healthy the communication culture is in your company by taking a fresh look at how much jargon you use.

Would your organisation benefit if you crusaded for clear communication? Like all changes, it will come from the top – you will need to eliminate all jargon yourself, making yourself vulnerable, before you can demand it of others. Like all cultural change it starts by example.

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