Game Changers and Galloping Gooseberries

Game Changers and Galloping Gooseberries

Process engineering gives the leverage to go deep and understand the core competence of human capital. This empowers us to leapfrog into tomorrow to influence business enablers and drivers that will transcend how we do business. This also gives us the opportunity to leverage our strengths, touch-base with customers, assimilate learnings and come up with game changer ideas that will force multiply our revenue, upsurge profitability, revitalize market share and empower our success.

Phew! Corporate life is peppered with jargons: linear regression, exponential growth, aggregate demand; the more we spew them forth, the more we gain self-importance and come to believe that the next rocket to Mars is being launched from our desks.

What are jargons? A simple question I googled (I wonder what the world did in the dark ages before Google. That is another blog post in itself!). Nevertheless, this is what faithful Google returned:

First Dictionary

  • Nonsensical, incoherent, or meaningless talk.
  • A hybrid language or dialect; a pidgin.
  • The specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, or similar group.
  • Speech or writing having the unusual or pretentious vocabulary, convoluted phrasing, and vague meaning.

Second Dictionary

  • Special words or expressions used by a profession or a group that are difficult for others to understand.
  • Archaic, a form of language regarded as barbarous, debased, or hybrid.

From nonsensical to special words used by professions, the definition said it all. Jargons can be perceived to be rubbish or mean something special, but unless we know the why, when, who or what of using them, we can look like speaking twaddle. Well, I went around checking with those who use them, our ‘Game Changers’, why they use jargons at all.

Following are some interesting insights on this captivating white collared bounty:

“Well, I like to use them when I know the other guy has to be cut to size.”

“When I address a town hall and want to sound important.”

“When I feel full of myself.”

“When I do not know what to say, I use jargons.”

“When I read and figure out something that sounds so loaded, and can never figure out what it is, I make a note and experiment with it next time when I address my team.”

“When I am compelled to read (because my colleague is reading that book!), then comes the urge to use the language on some bakara /lamb who is not suspecting it.”

“My personal favorite jargon is prefixing “strategic” to any word or statement, and it immediately starts sounding important. For example, “I am going for a strategic lunch meeting,” sounds much more important & mysterious than, “the lunch buffet at that restaurant is super cheap”.

With all that insight & enlightenment, engulfed by a jargoneous aura, I walked into the world of lambs/bakaras – our Gooseberries, who are at the receiving end of these corporate jargons, to prod them on their reaction to the onslaughts:

“Well boss is always right, even if he sounds silly.”

“Oh, My! Here he goes on his trip.”

“Boring! When is this getting to an end?”

“Ok next is ‘forced multipliers followed by blue ocean strategy’, I know the script by now guys.”

“Well, that was a new jargon, I need to google where he picked it up from!”

“Oh man! She loves that empowerment BS, but when the hell is she going to figure out how to practice that?”

“Not sure what these guys sometimes yap, it goes over my head, and anyway do I have a head?”

“Scratch, scratch…ok, I am sleepy. Wake me up when they are done and dusted.”

So the writing is on the wall, we just need to wipe our bifocal lens and look again. Game Changers should realize that their intellectual insights have transformed the spectators into Galloping Gooseberries instead of admirers or informed souls!

Unless you know the audience as a team member, knowing their pulse and building credibility using jargon can be a disaster. The barometer of knowledge is never how complicated we speak but how simple we can make it for the listener. When we look back at our teachers who standout, they are not the ones who screamed at us or who made us feel small by their knowledge but who picked up the most complicated Coordinate Geometry and nudged us to understand the subject by making it simple, understandable and bearable. That is the power of nurturing!

Who is bothered whether we leapfrog or transcend into tomorrow? Those two seconds of the importance we feel while using a jargon might just flicker only if we remember no one cares. The world is built by men and women who had the courage to dream, visualize and execute, not by terminology, verbiage or ramble.

Late, I learned that when reason died, wisdom was born; before that liberation, I had only knowledge.

–Sri Aurobindo

Sunitha Lal is a Human Resources professional and organizational culture expert, based out of Bangalore. She has over 25 years of experience spanning diverse industries and geographies. Because of her keen interest in understanding human behavior, she views organizational dynamics through the lens of behavioral science, psychology, and anthropology.  


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *