Introduction

What I am writing here is based on my own experience and what I observed and learned. It is my point of view and it makes sense to me. It has worked for me and is still working for me. It remains being your responsibility to do your own critical thinking, don’t just believe.

And that is exactly my intention: making you think for yourself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bullshit Bingo: Anemic Vision / Mission and other Statements

It’s August 28, 1963 in Washington, DC. Martin Luther King Jr. begins his speech and he says:
"I have, under the impression of Theta and Alpha oscillations, a peculiar form of declarative memory, hypothesizing that during sleep some electrophysiological mechanisms, associated with different brain oscillation, may indicate with a inherent uncertainty, that we will be able to cooperate and cocreate."
No, that’s not what he said. If so, the 250,000+ people who had gathered would have fallen asleep or gone by now. Instead he said:
“I have a dream.”
And the rest is history.
It’s happening daily. Political and corporate leaders are wasting our time with such type of bullshit. Want to see another example? Here’s a company mission statement:
  • Guided by relentless focus on our five imperatives, we will constantly strive to implement the critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we will deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve. All of our long-term strategies and short-term actions will be molded by a set of core values that are shared by each and every associate.
Inspired, anyone? And it’s just one example. There are many much worse than that.
Nothing tells you more about the state of an organization / company than their statements made. An impertinence. Not only does this lingo appear in these statements. It’s used in any statements these people make. It’s used in meetings.That’s how they speak. Anemic statements, Braindead water-level reports. Empty, meaningless agglomerations of complicated expressions. A waste of everyone’s time. An insult to any intelligent being. A generic hogwash. Intended to impress. Hollow, empty shells fabricated by courtesy of bullshit castle. At least it lets you play bullshit bingo.
The other day I watched political cabaret. The comedian presented several of these statements to the audience. Statements made by politicians and company leaders. He asked the audience whether they understood it. They hesitated first. Then the answer was a “no” with a lot of laughter. “See, this is your problem. Why the hell then don't you ask them what it means?” the comedian said.  “Ask them to say it in plain language. If they can’t, they fail. Then fuggem!”
When these industry actors and political impersonators deliver these statements, there are three possibilities:
  • The author doesn't understand the topic. Not the brightest cup in the cupboard.
  • The author does understand it. Then he / she is misleading you on purpose. A liar.
  • The author doesn’t care about the topic but wants to show off. A narcissist performing mental masturbation.
In all three cases you do not want them to be your leaders, ever. Don’t tolerate them. When they waste your time unmask their BS right away.
Think about that when you are a leader. Show to your audience that you care about them. That you respect them. Use plain language. And use it properly. Demonstrate that you understand your topic.
True leaders use an inspiring language. They make proper use of the language. A plain and simple language. Precise and straight to the point. No margin for doubt. Statements everyone understands in a nanosecond. Sweeping statements delivered with passion. Statements making people longing for being a part of the mission.
In other words: Lead them.