Clarity As Competitive Advantage

Provocative post from Dan Pink on the importance of clarity and trust in business relationships.

Using business-speak at work rests on the notion that the distance of professional language is inherently strong – and the closeness of personal language inherently weak.

But this idea may be wrong.

Like any valuable relationship, the ones we have in business hinge on trust. And trust depends on openness, respect and humanity. Yet we often resist taking that approach in our professional lives, even though we know it would be absurd to do anything else in our personal lives.

and offers an interesting challenge

So try an experiment. For the next seven days, go monolingual and speak only human at work. Don’t say anything to your boss, your staff, your teammate, your supplier or your customer that you wouldn’t say to your spouse or your friend.

It might startle people at first. But I suspect that they’ll reply in the same vernacular – and you might start actually understanding each other and getting something done.

This topic also relates (somewhat indirectly) to my thoughts on a recent Gurteen Knowledge Cafe – as the meeting progressed through it’s different phases people went from talking (admittedly rather mild) ‘professionalese’ to speaking naturally leading to more open communication. Of course this example is a million miles away from the rather extreme and stark cases that Pink highlights which often involve (unsurprisingly) customer service. The interesting part of the Cafe was that it smoothly encouraged this transition!

Interesting of course to view the Apple Antennagate issue in this light – see, amongst many others, here.

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