So we left off with Important/Urgent and I just want to mention that what is important and urgent to someone else may be of little consequence to you. What’s the phrase,”A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” So true. Of course know when and with whom to pick your battles, right?
I’ve saved these heavyweights for last. Enjoy. Or not.
In theory, strategy or strategic plan means looking out in the distance and setting your goals. Then every decision would be tactical in that each would contribute to the success of the project. Huh. That’s gone. Strategic is now important on steroids. Whenever you’re asked for the strategy of this courseware or how it fits within the strategic vision of our corporate long-range plan – get out the shovel. The more times strategic is used the more self-important the speaker and the less concrete the goal.
8. Rightsize, downsize, best shore, offshore, outsource, optimize, redeploy, downshift, re-engineer. Now entering the realm of hyper cliché are any of these ways of kissing off staff. In the learning business, we tend to suffer early – and when training budgets start to be trimmed think of the canary in the coalmine. Call your connections, dust off the rez, and brighten up your LinkedIn profile because you are soon to be history. Using this terms makes the executioner feel like he is doing something strategic (see #7) for the greater good of the corporation.
9. Thank you. What? How can some of the most benign words find their way on this list? Simply when it’s spoken by a machine. Thank you for your interest, your time, your patience, your value as a customer and such. We don’t thank people much in online courseware – I don’t know why, we just don’t. However, trainers are always thanking learners – most of who were locked up in a room for the day, had to show up to the session and compelled to complete the requirements. Thanking them is obsequious. Thanking them before the session ends for enduring the training with grace and composure demonstrates commiseration. Of course, if the trainer was outstanding – the audience will say, “Thank you.”
I find this the funniest word on the list. It suggests, on one hand pondering, deep thinking while all the facts are weighted. However, as the Chinese say, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” it portends not a good thing. Nor the doctor holding your x-ray and saying, “Hmm, interesting. And my favorite use in learning – and it’s true especially in the arts as well – when the patron, viewer, learner says, “Interesting.” That’s shorthand for you missed the mark. I’d like to be less interested in employment if you will hire me.
Oh, I know all about opportunities – they used to be called problems. I will defend account executives (formerly salesmen/women colleagues who enjoy when an an opportunity to sell into a company appears. That is truthful. Of course, they are there because the business has a problem. Of course, everyone will first thank each other for finding time in their busy schedules to make the meeting…and once again the shovel please.
Like opportunities, we do not spend (unless the opposite political party wants to put the taint on the other guys). We do want to make investments in education, infrastructure, even in learning, public and corporate – with the hopes that the investment will pay off. Here we are hobbled by two misconceptions. Firstly, we are going to spend money and we will not (in the actual definition) earn capital in return. Therefore, without a return on investment – it is spending. In fact, those who want to make these investments hardly know what they will do or purpose they will serve. Most egregiously – and this folks (hang your heads low because we share some of the guilt), is because no one knows how to measure the worth of these investments… and determine whether the spending was justified by the result.
So I hope you found this enlightening and humorous – good to laugh at yourself once in a while. Please try to be interesting when you build your strategy and don’t forget to thank those who recognized the opportunity to see the importance in your project; just remember you might always be downsized, but from me to you I hope your investment will pay off.
Have a safe drive home.