Can you tap a resource to execute the next project? Make sure you get it on their radar screen and really sweat the asset to get it done.
Business jargon is somewhat incomprehensible but always dehumanizing, demoralizing and demotivating. In offices all across the United States, we hear these phrases uttered at a constant pace. They make employees feel less than human and like a replaceable part in the massive corporate machine. However, it is simple enough to rehumanize that dehumanizing business jargon.
One of the most dehumanizing words in corporate jargon is resource. It can refer to a copy machine, paper clip or a person. If the resource being referred to breathes air, talks and has a name, it is best NOT to use the word resource.
2. Human capital
A close cousin to resource, but at least this phrase actually acknowledges that people are different than staplers. The people who spend 40+ hours a week working for a company are more valuable than this term implies. Without PEOPLE — a company cannot survive.
“We’d like to tap your brain for this upcoming project.” Ouch! You mean stick a metal object into my brain to drain out my intellect like I am a maple tree. No thanks, but I am happy to help you with the project.
4. It is what it is
This translates into I have completely given up on trying to solve this problem or I am completely powerless to help. Try listening, talking and coming up with solutions to see if you can change whatever “it is” into something better.
5. Radar screen
“You need to put this on your radar screen.” I don’t have a radar screen. Am I being promoted to an air traffic controller? How much harder could that be than playing Asteroids?
Instead, use “be aware of” or “take note” of the upcoming project.
6. Take it to the next level
“We need to take our deliverables to the next level.” Cool. Apparently, we are playing Super Mario Brothers at work and I didn’t realize it. I will get to the next level and save Princess Toadstool. Instead of this meaningless and overused phrase, outline the goals for the future and how the company is going to get there.
7. Bleeding edge
“There has to be bleeding edge thinking on this project.” This phrase just conjures up an image of a blood covered knife; not what I want to be thinking about if I want to push my thinking forward. How about using “creative thinking” or even “leading edge?” Anything is better than blood in the cubicle.
“How are we going to execute the project?” This overused word brings to mind more violent images and makes me wonder what did the poor project do to deserve this treatment? Try using the simple word “do” instead.
9. Bandwidth or cycles
“I’ll see if she has any bandwidth for these additional duties.” As much as I wish I was HAL 2000 refusing to open the pod bay doors, employees are not computers. Try instead this fantastic word – time. “I’ll see if she has the time for these additional duties.”
10. Sweat the asset
A company that gets every last drop of value out of its resources whether it be a person or machine. When referring to employees, let’s just stop using this phrase, ok? Thanks.
11. Cross pollination
“By bringing together the two teams, we are hoping you can cross-pollinate.” We are getting bees in the office? Isn’t than dangerous? Bees sting.
Oh, you mean — “share ideas.”
12. Flight risk
“I think Joe’s a flight risk.” Have you thought that Joe might be a flight risk because you talk about him like a prisoner? I’d want to quit too if I felt like an inmate at my job.
Rehumanizing dehumaninzing language in the office place is easy — just talk like a human being in plain language that builds relationships rather than demoralizes them.
There are two ways to eat a cake.
You can eat it in small pieces.
Or gobble the whole thing down.
Most of us would like to gobble, whether it comes to cake or learning
And like cake, learning needs to be tackled in small portions. Small portions not only help you learn, but help you learn a lot faster. Here are three core reasons why:
1) The sleep factor
2) The tiredness factor
3) The mistake factor.
Let’s start with the sleep factor
When you learn something, the brain tries to make sense of it. And then it goes about doing whatever it’s supposed to do. Then you go to bed. You might get just 6 hours of sleep, but in that time your brain is processing parts of your day. And if you’ve learned a new skill, there’s a good chance it’s doing just that—processing your new skill.
My niece, Marsha is just 8 (at the time of writing this article)
And she comes across to my office to learn to implement a concept called Bal-Vis-X. It’s a combination of skills that make students sharper and smarter than ever before. But here’s what happens during our exercise.
At first, Marsha struggles with a new exercise (there are over 300 exercises in the entire program). And we don’t force the issue. She just goes home and goes to sleep. Then she comes back for the next session. In between those two sessions, nothing has changed. The only difference is the sleep factor. Yet, almost immediately you can see the difference.
And the same applies to your learning
You can learn just about anything. And then it’s time to sleep. The very next day there will be a difference. Whether you will be able to discern the difference or not isn’t relevant, there will be a difference, nonetheless.
Over weeks and months you’ll be able to see a chunky difference. And sleep, believe it or not, plays a massive role. So yes, turning off that stupid TV (yes, stupid) will make you a lot smarter. But then, can’t bulk learning make you smarter? Surely the brain can absorb a lot more information at one go. Yes it can, but there’s a problem called tiredness that steps right in.
2) The tiredness factor
Bulk learning is plainly ineffective when compared with daily learning—and you don’t need a research scientist to tell you that. If you’re flirting with a new skill, the brain is under tremendous pressure. It’s trying to absorb what’s being written, work out the context and—because it’s a skill—apply it to your job or your life. Think about the amount of glucose that sucks up from your body. Now multiply that learning over 3 hours, or a day, and what you’ll find are drop outs.
It would seem that you’ve heard it all, and yet unless you have a phenomenal ability, there’s a chance you lost little chunks past the first ten minutes of instruction. As the learning advances, you start losing bigger chunks.
Now admittedly this depends on your level of skill. Let’s say you already know a lot about Photoshop, and you’re sitting in a Photoshop seminar, your brain doesn’t strain too much. But the moment some new features come up, your brain has to do a fair bit of work. The more facts you have to remember the more tired it gets and dropouts are inevitable. It’s only when you see the work of others, working on the same exercise, that you realise how many subtleties you’ve missed.
When you do daily learning, you get to re-examine what you’ve learned—and what you’ve missed. And this brings us to the third part: The mistake factor.
3) The mistake factor
If you do something every day, you learn from new mistakes every day. If you bulk your learning the mistakes are all a blur. But daily mistakes get highlighted. And not just your mistakes, but in a group, the mistakes of the entire group. There’s more than a good chance that a group of just 5-7 people will make as many as 5-15 mistakes in a single day. This is because everyone interprets information differently, and executes differently.
So you get to learn—and more importantly, revise what you know. And what you don’t know. Bulk learning is not as efficient, because the mistakes are made en masse, and the teacher may not be overly keen to point out 35 mistakes in one day. Over a week, 35 mistakes are just 5 mistakes a day. Every mistake gets its own spotlight and hence you get the chance to eliminate those mistakes systematically.
And yet most of us believe in bulk learning
And this is because we’re in a hurry. Yet, the best way to learn something, is to slow things down considerably. It takes most people about 2-3 years to become extremely proficient at a skill like writing or drawing. Yet with the right teacher and the right system this can be shortened to just 6-8 months. And that’s because the pace slows down considerably. You detect and fix more errors. And what is talent, but the systematic reduction of errors?
You’ve done the gobble-gobble learning and you know the results.
Now try the daily learning. Better still, try it in a group.
And prepare to be amazed.
Photo credit: http://homebrewedchristianity.com
Project management is a specialty, and it has its own language. Resistance is futile.
- Scope – It’s what has to be done. Always too general for some and too specific for others. Never right.
- Resources – Funding and people authorized for the project. Never enough and always in the wrong denominations.
- Schedule – How much time you have to get it all done. Never enough.
- Project Manager – You. The person responsible for everything, and in control of nothing.
- Sponsor – The one that wanted it in the first place. The one that shudders when you walk in because you always bring a problem, and give them way too many details.
- Customer – The group that want things their way.
- Vendor – The other group that wants things their way.
- Users – People addicted to the old way.
- Escalation – A process that defies gravity, and moves problems uphill.
- Documentation – The last task in a project, or later.
- Flowcharts – Cubicle art.
- Team – Your best friends. The group that, when asked who caused a problem, forms a circle and each person points to the left.
- Work Group – An oxymoron.
- Oxymorons – People that take more than their share of oxygen from a project.
- Project Plan – A deliverable assigned to the most annoying person on the project, who doesn’t recognize his or her work is done after the project has started and is going according to plan.
- Almost Done – Where you are after Day 1 of the project. What you say when the “80% done” answer quits working.
- RFI – Request for Information. A request for a customized marketing document.
- RFP – Request for Proposal. A request to take a monkey off a customer’s back.
- RFQ – Request for Qualifications. A request for a customized marketing document. A good source of boilerplate information for the RFP.
- RFQQ – Adds a price quote to the RFQ. Generally from a vendor that has too little information from a customer that has too little understanding. Binding.
- RFK – An important reminder that even the best project managers can find themselves in a bay of pigs.
- Proposal – A document of sweeping generalizations.
- Testing – What development is called after the development schedule has passed.
- Testing – What the end-users do when the testing schedule has passed. Sometimes called Post-implementation Support.
- Process Reengineering – Today’s processes, turned sideways.
- KPIs – Key Performance Indicators. Objective measures of failure, most often advocated by opponents. Never tracked.
- CSFs – Critical Success Factors. An early view of the blunders you will certainly make. Always tracked, but never called CSFs.
If this sounds familiar, you are an experienced project manager, undoubtedly overworked, underpaid and not appreciated. Get a dog.
Photo credit: http://www.study-habits.com
Last week I came across a compelling online business library consisting of (almost) everything I need for the business writing, economics and related studies, including loads of wonderfully written textbooks.
And when I say “wonderfully written”, I mean that an earth, mortal human without previous phd degree could easily understand the essentials, then roll sleeves and get to work.
Over 800 textbooks written by professors
We currently offer over 800 textbooks. The books are in average around 200 pages long, and are being used as both primary and secondary literature.
All our books are written by highly respected professors from some of the best universities in the world and exclusively for bookboon.com.
There we have it, welcome:
Why is it free?
There is an excerpt of BookBoon.com mission and concept:
Bookboon.com publishes free and openly available eBooks for students and business professionals. The Books can be downloaded in PDF without registration. Our mission is that students should be able to go through university without having to pay for textbooks.
If you had a look, please share your experience in the comments below. Do you find it useful the way I did (I already finished two of the books on communication).
Have a magnificent Wednesday,
We’re not born with unlimited choices. We cannot be anything we want to be. We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it. Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it. If we were born to paint, it’s our job to become a painter. If we were born to raise and nurture children, it’s our job to become a mother. If we were born to overthrow the order of ignorance and injustice of the world, it’s our job to realize it and get down to business.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne
Dirt Poster is a Design and Graphic-Design work made by Roland Reiner Tiangco, a new graduate of a Design School, living in New York. While handling the poster, your hands starts to get dirty, and this dirt allows you to see what’s the poster is all about. Check out also the artist’s Website.
I like the moral 🙂