Call out white spaces by boiling the ocean
July 14, 2010 Leave a comment
The ancient wisdom and sagacity behind the maxim “While in Rome, do as Romans do” is pretty much infallible and a sure-shot way to favourably position oneself in the organization.
Organizational cultures are increasingly becoming complex and in my view caught in the vortex of the personal whims and fancies of the leaders. While it is true that no organization can be completely immune to the style of it’s leader, it is also imperative that the style doesn’t impact the team to an extent that they cease to be themselves.
It is also very important for organizational leaders to distinguish between adoption of sycophants and those who are genuinely influenced by them.
It is perfectly legitimate and in fact welcome that the leader’s personal example is adopted by the organization in areas such as punctuality, drive, clarity of thought, respect and problem solving skills. In some aspects such as punctuality and dress code for example, it is even all right for the leader to enforce a writ.
But if there is one area where I would prefer the leader from imposing their style is in communication. As long as the etiquette of business communication is maintained and it is directed to the right audience, I don’t suppose the business leaders should concern themselves about the choice of words/phrases.
Of course the business leaders can provide a general guidance about the style to the adopted for difference audiences and the length of communication, I don’t support the ruthless trampling of the originality of the thoughts.
If all of us, say were to speak and write the same way, do you think the world would be as entertaining as it is today ?
For instance if Laloo didn’t speak the way he speaks and Momta didi didn’t speak her way, would politics be more entertaining ?
It takes all kinds of people to people the world and indeed an organization.
Ideas are best expressed by the persons in their own ways ; Each man to his own.
Moving over to a new business unit as I did recently I was (am still !) aghast at the monotony of the communication. Just everyone spoke the same way, said the same phrases.
Surely this isn’t coincidental.
I have attended a few meetings where my side-job is to observe the number of times the magic phrases are said and the person who would begin it.
I don’t know who started it or the etymology of some of the phrases but the unfailing regularity with which it is used and with impunity regardless of the circumstances makes me very suspect that it is being done to please someone or ape someone.
Just what the heck is “boiling the ocean” ? And why the hell it had to be said 333 times (ok, I am exaggerating) a day ?
I am not doing a Shashi Tharoor here who’d suggested that Indians don’t know English but pardon me, I have never heard of this phrase before.
Not that the communication has to be in accordance with my preference but the “extent of adoption” within the Business Unit is so unnerving and eerie.
How could so many people be convinced about “boiling the ocean” ?
I have been writing in public forums for well over 3 years now. Sometimes I do write stuff that I like to call as poetry though they may not explicitly qualify as such. I got a pretty decent 65 in English in my school leaving examination. Enough said, I am certainly not the next big thing in English literature or some such thing, but I couldn’t just figure out what was being meant when someone said that there is no need to ‘boil the ocean’.
Thanks to google, I just found that it means taking upon an impossible tasks which is destined to fail. Okay fair enough, point taken.
But can the same be not simply put as ‘I think this is impossible’ or ‘we don’t have to take up something impossible’.
Of course I am not suggesting that my way is the only way, but, how on earth that every single person would say the same thing ?
Surely there is certain legacy about the usage of this phrase to this which I would hopefully unravel in some time.
I have read somewhere that the only bad thing about a good joke is the number of times it is told. A badly told joke, however good in content it is, would fail to generate the reaction that it should.
An over-used and often abused idiom, however good it may be, is still insufferable.
I also wonder whether the leaders are pedantic about saying something the way they would say. It would be terrible if they are indeed , because using someone’s words to express one’s thoughts is possibly the worst thing in communication.
The best communicators in my view are those who are naturals. We often assume that bombastic, scholarly and rich use of language is the best use. It is not.
The language is used the best when it can be understood easily by people across the intellectual spectrum. While there may be circumstancial exceptions, certainly in normal business meetings, specifically internal, there is no need to demonstrate one’s linguistic prowess.
Certainly not to impress the boss.
Follow thy leader, by all means, but guys don’t lose your originality. Be a Roman in Rome, for sure, but not always, not everywhere and certainly not in everything.
Now, if you don’t understand the hell out the title of this note (I dont either), you certainly know why, don’t you ?