Buzzword Bingo!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. We sometimes play a game in meetings. Buzzword bingo! Our version involves trying to get AC/DC song and album references into the minutes without people commenting. OK, maybe not a traditional approach, but why is this so easy? Typically because of fear. Does this sound familiar to you? You are in a meeting and someone uses a term you’re not 100% sure you know. You hear a term you’ve always thought you knew, but others are using it in a way you’re not sure is correct. Do you question it? Or course not! Don’t display ignorance! Don’t ask for clarification! Don’t risk condemnation or ridicule! Then think back 30min… You dropped your kid at school. As you did so you told them “the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask…” So why do we have two opposing views on the same problem? Mostly it’s because we have taught ourselves to “fake it until you make it”. We have such a desire to climb over others for positional advancement we won’t risk a chance for others to score points against us. This has resulted in less effective interactions, and certainly meetings that do nothing to improve the capability of your team or business. Instead of making sure we all understand words and concepts in the same way we play games to look clever or create a social pecking order. My favorite of this year is governance (closely followed by Portfolio.. But let’s look at one this time…). Executives especially use the word governance to mean so many things that it seems to have lost meaning. It could be used for processes, teams, decisions, or even just “the culture, the vibe, it’s mabo, the constitution….” or any array of definitions. Rather than agree on a simple definition, the word governance gets thrown around with nobody questioning it, or more importantly with no real action associated with its use. If you want to be effective, start with being open to learning. To do that, you need to accept that you have the capability to change. True leaders don’t pretend or assume that they know everything, but they also help provide a safe environment for others to learn. To do that, they go first. That includes showing that they are willing to say “I don’t know”. Go first, and usually, with a look of relief on their face, others will follow. So go out on that razor’s edge, get your meeting productivity back in black and you’ll be thunderstruck at the tnt like explosive benefits (see what I did there?).

Posted in

Nathan Jones