Saturday, June 07, 2008

Somewhere in the second hour of the meeting, you take stock of what has been said so far by the lone speaker. You got actual work to do and it’s getting late.

The very soul of his message, you realize, is this:

We've got to do a good job this year.

Hey, that's an excellent message. We've got to do a good job this year. Words to press to one's bosom. Only--how has it taken more than an hour to convey this bit of intelligence? How does a speaker do that? What groups of words could possibly fill up the space between "We've got to do a good job this year," and the far end of 90 minutes?

These words: Critical, Issue, and Process.

The words critical, issue and process can be put into almost any sentence, and turn an otherwise straightforward message into a vehement lurch toward critical mission objectives. And when you get to these, better settle in for a long drive.

Until you get the food receiving process completed and critical utensil issues resolved you’ll have to order out for dinner. Later you’ll be receiving material as part of the process that is critical to the day-to-day issues of the receiving process.

Going forward, we’ll have to keep an eye on how that issue is processing because it’s a critical issue, and watching it will be part of the process.

Coming up on an hour and a quarter.

The speaker is an unoffensive man, mid-40s, white as a baloney sandwich, somewhat carp-like in the mouth, skilled in the speech of the apparatchik, strapped all over with pagers and beepers and flashers and peepers, eager to meet the objectives outlined in his last performance evaluation. He will touch base with you throughout the year as part of the process that will be critical to dealing with certain issues we faced last year.

Of course, you’ll have to hit the ground running, because the critical time will come just as certain other major issues will need some solution-oriented processes, possibly a team approach, maybe even a team approach strategy.

90 minutes and counting.

You think maybe there should be a way to measure the density of information in any given speech, a number you could put on it—important points per hour or something—and speakers could only speak who could maintain a certain number.

However you measure it, words like critical, process and issue would drive that number down. Also parameter, benchmark, mission, bullet points, heads ups, bangs for your bucks, mindsets, team players, action items, socks knocked off, cutting edges, core competencies, headcounts, all things impactful, scenarios of any kind, all creatures open ended, and red flags of all colors.

Another 15 minutes go by and it looks once more like you’ll have more work tomorrow.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forgot threshold

Metric Instability said...

Charlie Brown's teacher couldn't have said it better.

oh, and you forgot "dead cat bounce". It's a real catchphrase in financial "circles" (I think we are all doomed)

Metric Instability said...

Remember, "we've got to do a good job this year" Rob. No excuse for failure, that's what I say. Early to rise and all that you know. It will be smooth sailing for those that aren't afraid to get their hands dirty doing an honest day's work. So, put your back into it and chin up. We've got to make a good impression so they know that we're on the level, of even keel, with plenty of elbow grease and "moxie", in for the long haul and all that.

You see Rob, every generation has its own useless language of business speak.

Metric Instability said...

Sometime in the second week of July, it should hit you that you haven't posted any July blog entries!!!! A big red flag that needs to get impacted in a mission-critical, heads-up, drill-down of on-message dead cat bounces, if you catch my drift.

Metric Instability said...

July has left us brave Captain with nary an entry (isn't it cute when I pretend to write). We await an onslaught of August bloggages from our windswept water-worn hero of the waves (uh, that's you Robbo).

Metric Instability said...

August is fleeting. Cooler winds are gathering and the colors of fall will soon kiss the tree leaves giving them a moments splendor (that's right, I said splendor) before they all perish disloged from their food supply by by the whipping winds of death. But who gives a tinkers dam as we all have placed our own lives on hold until Mer-Man here gives up this floating about the waves folly. As prankish a contrivance of his own doing that I have ever witnessed. This sort of folly is usually reserved for elected officials. So batten down your hatch for the last time and get back to pressing the keys on that computer. It's really not that hard, in fact, it's easy...why look, I'm doing it right now.

Metric Instability said...

August is fleeting. Cooler winds are gathering and the colors of fall will soon kiss the tree leaves giving them a moments splendor (that's right, I said splendor) before they all perish disloged from their food supply by by the whipping winds of death. But who gives a tinkers dam as we all have placed our own lives on hold until Mer-Man here gives up this floating about the waves folly. As prankish a contrivance of his own doing that I have ever witnessed. This sort of folly is usually reserved for elected officials. So batten down your hatch for the last time and get back to pressing the keys on that computer. It's really not that hard, in fact, it's easy...why look, I'm doing it right now.