Monthly Archives: January 2010

Weasel Word Wednesday #8 – execute

Yes, off with his head!  Oh… you just mean “get stuff done”.

These days in business, “it’s all about execution”.  I noticed this one being used more during the recent global financial crisis. I think people panicked and realised they they’d better actually do something.  Simply having a “vision” and a “strategy” or even (god forbid) a “strategic plan” is not enough.  Apparently, you then have to “execute”, that is, actually do something.

I was reminded of this word by a quote in an article in The Australian this week from the CEO of German software maker SAP, Leo Apotheker. It’s a pearler:

“Our goal is to enable SAP to bring the right innovations and solutions to all of our customers in a much shorter timeframe. With these changes, we become more responsive to customer feedback, and can leverage collaboration and synergies across our organisation more effectively. They will enable us to expand our industry leadership and successfully execute against our strategy for sustainable growth,” Mr Apotheker said.

I’d better get back to executing then.

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Weasel Word Wednesday #7 – traction

Thanks to Stilgherrian for reminding me of this one in a post on Twitter this morning:

This year I shall spit upon everyone who says “gaining traction”, unless they’re talking about adhesive friction or orthopedics.

Couldn’t agree more. No, I don’t mind hearing about traction (or loss of it) when I’m out at a track day with the BMW Drivers Club, but I’d rather not hear about companies, products or people ‘gaining traction’ when all they usually mean is that someone listened to them or bought their stuff.

Weasel Word Wednesday #6 – Best Practice

Hat tip to my darling husband and a good blog post he wrote for Australian Anthill magazine for this one. I agree with him – ‘best practice’ is a badly overused term that has come to have little meaning, and yes, rubs me up the wrong way in meetings too. And he’s right – what is ‘best practice’ (i.e. something that works) in one company or country is usually not in another. You do need to take context into account and do what’s best for that particular need or situation.

Late last year I received a media request for comment from someone in my organisation on ‘worst practice’ in a particular field and I struggled to find a willing volunteer. Maybe it was because a mistake in one organisation might just be the right way to go in another. I know that they simply wanted to know what organisations are doing wrong and how they could improve, but the term ‘worst practice’ muddied the waters.

The joys of information underload

Following my recent holiday in Japan, and my professed love of the Engrish.com web site, you might expect me to regale you with stories of the funny signs spotted on the trip. OK, I will indulge… see pictures below. One was taken in a park in Nara where tourists feed the deer… and sometimes themselves. The other shows a restaurant menu with an item called ‘Sansai’ that I’m not terribly keen on eating. You’ll see why.

While I think it’s very rude to travel in a country and not make an effort to learn a few basic words in the local language, I can’t begin to tell you how great it was not being able to understand much on our trip. My brain has never felt so clear. Endless advertisements, lengthy announcements on public transport, TV news – it’s the same in every country. We are endlessly beaten around the head with so much useless and unwanted information. Were we disadvantaged by not being able to understand, for example, the lengthy announcements on the trains and rail platforms? No, we could tell from the sign where the train was going, and by the time on our watch when to get off.

There is a lot we can do to simplify communication and eliminate unnecessary communication. Underload has to be better than overload. We might get to use our brains more.