There’s a new business buzzword spreading like Strep Throat. I’m betting it’s still in the early adoption phase, but these viral epidemics (pandemics?) move quickly.
The old guard better watch out. I’m talking to you...
Reduction in force.
Boil the ocean.
This particular strain is known as Socialize.
Here’s an example of Socialize in action:
Hey Matthew -
Here’s the memo. Feel free to socialize this with your team.
Don’t do this.
If you’re already on Socialize, stop.
If others are using Socialize, ask them to stop.
Friends don’t let friends Socialize.
Socialize is a synonym for Share.
Why or how Socialize has displaced Share we have yet to learn.
You may be thinking... "Hey, what’s with all the negativity around Socialize?"
It’s counter-productive. Every business recognizes the importance of effective communication, yet we allow co-workers to traipse around repeating euphemisms that distract and confuse.
Here’s what I mean...
VP: Now let’s not boil the ocean here. We can peel back the onion offline.
Me: (whispering) Huh? What did he say? Don’t boil the ocean? What does that mean?
You: He means we don’t have to solve all our problems here, right now. The ocean is a metaphor for -
VP: Hey - you two! Are you listening?
Me: Sorry sir. Can you back up to whatever followed, “boil the ocean” ? That phrase was distracting. Thanks.
Business buzzwords add nothing.
They slow down and set back.
As comedian George Carlin said, “The quality of our speech reflects the quality of our thinking.”
And really, the best case scenario with Socialize is the absence of meaningful thought. Employees simply mimic whatever their bosses say. This is the best case.
Your CEO reads it in a Q&A in the WSJ and drops it casually in an executive meeting. VP’s know the drill. They pick it up, use it in a mass email. Middle management tries it on for size - it fits real nice. And so on….
The worst case is managers are deliberately using Socialize to establish superiority over peers. Buzzwords can be used to speak down to other employees.
I’m up here.
The people up here talk like this.
You probably don’t know what I’m talking about.
You don’t talk like this down there….
Nevermind. You wouldn’t understand.
Effective communication is based on common language with a common understanding of what that language means. Good management and leadership requires effective communication.
Buzzwords don’t help.
Say what you mean.
Mean what you say.
Keep it simple.
Keep it direct.
So... after you socialize this column with your cohorts, please commentize below so we can engage in some organic conversations and establish a beachhead of brand evangelists.