Companies Need To Simplify What They Say

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jul 18

When I see the kind of stuff of mission statement fame like what I wrote about yesterday in What’s Your Mission Statement, I usually toss it off as corporate speak and use it for humor.

But, to be fair, there is a lot of underlying anger that is associated with the entire concept of corporate speak. Look at the statement one more time:

XYZ Consulting, the first XXX company who offers consultant in career management, is interested in assisting it’s partners in increasing their efficiency by maximizing individual and organizational performances. And we offer solutions in organizational development (Executive Search, Assessment, Development & Training Centers, consultant in developing career plans, training, evaluation), Recruiting and Contracting.

While I’m picking on one company, look at your corporate mission statement and see how close in the types of statements match your corporate mission statement.

If you look closely, you’ll see references to the services provided, helping the customer, and something to do with dollars for the customer or shareholders. All mission statements are really the same.

I was speaking with another blogger yesterday and a common theme that ran through the conversation was how so much of what is written today in the blogosphere just doesn’t stand for anything. I look at the public statements by companies, the internal organizational announcements, the product announcements and just think that we’ve gone way overboard in what we say and how that translates to meaning for people.

Corporations are now talking corporate speak and the customer is no longer involved because they can’t understand the corporate speak language.

You have to translate corporate speak for what really goes on:

X person has left the corporation to pursue other business opportunities. Translation: this person was fired.

The market continues to be a challenge in our business space. Translation: we haven’t reacted fast enough to the market, nor can we predict the market, and, consequently, our earnings aren’t what they should have been if we had better market conditions.

This merger will produce synergies that will enable our customers to get even better service and products to meet their customer needs. Translation: we took that company over and we’re going to get all the good stuff and layoff everyone we don’t need to get costs out of the business.

Why should we have to translate?

Why should we have to have Wall Street experts go behind the language presented by the company and interpret what it really means for the market? If a corporations business is to service customers, why can’t corporate communications departments simply describe the benefit to the customer?

Every profession has their specific language; I understand that. Doctors need to talk medical terms, inventory people need to talk the language of inventory, programmers need to talk in twenty different programming languages, and lawyers need to talk legal. But all of that is internal stuff. Corporations need to translate all that internal stuff to what people not versed in corporate speak can understand — including the benefit to them of what is being said whether they are customers or employees.

Would you want to be involved — and trust — a company that staked its business claim to:

XYZ Consulting, the first XXX company who offers consultant in career management, is interested in assisting it`s partners in increasing their efficiency by maximizing individual and organizational performances. And we offer solutions in organizational development (Executive Search, Assessment, Development & Training Centers, consultant in developing career plans, training, evaluation), Recruiting and Contracting.

Me either. Let’s talk a simpler business language.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.

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