As a worker ant at a large corporate establishment, every now and then a “corporate memo” arrives in my email from a member of the high-ranking brass that warrants much more than just a passing perusal. It’s often filled with so much corporate vernacular that you would need a Ph.D. in lexicography just to figure it out. Here’s the problem: As the author of the article and pillager of email, I don’t know what “vernacular” or “lexicography” mean, but they sound like I know what I’m writing about, don’t they? Can I be a CEO now? Please?
Below is a real email I received discussing employee changes in our department. Here is what the email says:
SUBJECT: Team Organization Restructuring
Recently, we announced the reorganization of our department at the leadership level. We are committed to a matrix model of leadership so resources can be pooled effectively across the enterprise. This model of practice will enable our talent to be in the right place at the right time. We will use the Black Belt and Innovation Methodology along with our Strategic Priorities to be our guide.
In order for us to effectively and efficiently align with the strategic goals, we have made the following modifications:
Mary Willett has become the team ambassador to international endeavors. She will work closely with the International Team to help support new store initiatives. Though she will continue reporting to me, she has relinquished her duties as Sr. Director of Design, a role which will be absorbed by the Design Team and me.
Sarah Peterson and Jessica Mansfield will formally combine efforts to create a Design/Store Integration team and Kimberly Jackson will continue to lead Visual Presentation.
Julie Johannson will continue to oversee new concept work at the concept store in addition to other concept stores. Julie will also go on leading the Team and Managers, aligning them with the new constellation design for the segments and domains. Julie will continue reporting directly to me.
Tim Garrold is assuming the new role as Managing Director. His position will be dedicated to building and executing a sound infrastructure, as well as ensuring that a rigorous methodology is applied to the strategic and innovative vision of the team across multiple work streams. Leverage of Tim’s Black Belt experience will bring the team an operational lens that will allow for a more systemically integrated operating platform. Tim will also continue reporting to me.
This team prides itself on enabling a holistic and differentiated customer experience that will lead to greater profitability through partnership, empowerment and targeting to the customer. This reengineering of roles and structure will help to foster collaboration and consistency so that we may successfully and effectively align with our strategic goals, carrying on the success of the company.
Huh? Did anyone get the SKU off that Corporate Thesaurus that just hit me? Actually, I have spent enough time being “educated” to explain what the email really says:
SUBJECT: Team Organization Restructuring
Recently, we fired a few overpaid people and spread their duties among current, lesser-paid employees to save money. These people are now required to be at my beck and call every minute of every day. We paid obnoxious amounts of money to send these people to training courses to learn to make "no" sound like "maybe," so we’re going to let them.
Here’s how we’ll stay under budget:
Mary Willett is moving to China. She is going to work more but be paid the same. Sarah Peterson, Jessica Mansfield and Kimberly Jackson will pick up Mary’s slack but not receive any more pay.
Julie Johnannson will take on more responsibility in addition to her current duties but will receive no raise.
Tim Garrold will acquire the duties of Managing Director because we fired the last guy who held this position and have not replaced him. Tim will boss more people around and be responsible when they screw up, and regardless of what Tim knows he will do exactly what I tell him to do
We need to get more money out of customers. These moves will help us make more money.
What’s the lesson, you ask? The higher you go in the company, the easier it is to write convoluted tripe that no one understands. That way you sound like you know more than anyone reading it, when the truth is that no one cares what it says because the reader's name isn't in it. The names in the email have been changed because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do. Don’t worry, they’ll find out soon.
If you would like a reprint of this article or to use it on your website, please change my name and ask for the “corporate” version. That way no one will understand, but everyone will think I’m a CEO. By the way, if any of you know a good Ph.D. hander-outer, please forward this article along as my thesis: “Creating a holistic berm of understanding based on presented correspondence of the corporate precipice” or “Making a molehill out of a mountain.”
April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 February 2007 April 2007 August 2007 September 2007 November 2007 December 2007 September 2008 October 2008
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