Reducing complex problems to buzzword bingo

Reducing Complex Problems

Don’t fall into the simplism trap

Your day is chock full of information, solutions and random ‘facts’. The problem?

People LOVE overly simplistic concepts that solve next to no problems.

Sputtering business-speak that does nothing has become second nature in far too many offices.

But you’re a legend, so I know you want better. Read on:

Tokenistic terms and management marketing madness

Sadly one of the things a great deal of us have seen on LinkedIn and elsewhere is the tsunami of jargon and outrageous terms that compel leaders to think about their problems through the thinnest of filters, only to discover the problem…well… hasn’t improved at all.

Look, I get it. It’s easy to grab a term, concept or framework and believe it’ll solve your problems. The real problem is, well, it won’t. 

For example, I can say to you “Are you having a problem with your team doing the things you’ve asked them to do? It’s likely Wednestification (made up rubbish): a term to explain laziness on Wednesday”.

The problem with this garbage is:

  1. It’s based on my opinion, not research or even applied experience!
  2. it doesn’t give you any real solutions to hold on to (should we just close the office on Wednesdays?)
  3. It’s easy and relatable so people talk about it (good marketing) but it doesn’t change anything and if anything, dulls the senses around complex thinking (maybe your people are ‘lazy’ on Wednesday because you’ve buried them in meetings all day Monday and Tuesday?)

You don’t have to agree with everyone and I challenge you to be judgier (aka more discerning).

Open up your LinkedIn, FB, mailbox or board pack and chances are there are some of these nonsensical terms. But you don’t have to stand for that. To overcome this:

  • Ask why we need the term/concept/tool — What problem does this solve? Why do we need it? Did someone read it somewhere (like ‘ways of working’) and convince us we need to reorient everything we do? If so, WHYYYYY?
  • Ask what it practically means — When someone says a term like ‘ways of working’ (I’m not saying anything about this specifically), ask what it practically means: “what do you mean when you say ways of working? What does it mean for us? What problem is it going to solve?”. If they can’t answer you, don’t go for it.
  • Wage war on it before it causes damage — In alignment with the points above, do NOT let rubbish terms run amok in your organisation/team.  Stop them from spreading it.

Don’t give in

In alignment with the above, you’re the last line of defence against a movement of mediocrity

Do not let people monopolise organisational resources and your time with management jargon pulled from random social media channels with no empirical basis.  You’ve got this.

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