Monday, March 9, 2015

Words of importance - Strategy

I really do not know what we management types would do if we did not have this word 'strategy'. Without it, we would feel much less important, unenthusiastic about our work and may even end up having to deal with a lot more domestic strife. Whoever it was who invented the word, he deserves to be praised, morning, noon and night.

What? You feel that I am, as usual, overstating the case? That no one word can be of such great importance? Let me ask you one question. How would YOU react if your boss said this to you?

"Guys! We need to find a way to diddle our customers into thinking that our new soap is better than any other soap in the market"

Adrenaline pumps up in your heart? Your mind is bright and sparking with ideas? You are willing to forego that cricket match and sit at your laptop working up a jazzy presentation? Fat chance. The only thing you are thinking of is about how to diddle your boss into thinking that you have done a great job, while you goof off and cheer Virat Kohli's batting.

AND, after a late night on the presentation (if your boss is too shrewd to be diddled), you hit home and tell your spouse, "We were working on selling our new soap." Your spouse is all sympathy and says, "Poor baby! You must be so tired." and kneads your shoulders? Fat Chance again! You will probably get a wrinkled nose and a sarcastic, "Yeah! I suppose that explains that scent which I smell all over you." AND a cold shoulder at night.

Now, just consider

"Guys! We need to put in place a marketing strategy for our new soap."

There! Does not the blood sing in your veins at the thought of doing important things? Does not your mind rev up to maximum rpms at the thought of shaping the future of your company? Does not Virat Kohli's batting pale in comparison with the idea of getting applauded for your important contribution to your company's strategies? Absolutely!

And, when you hit home and say, "Sorry honey! That strategy meeting took too long", do you get the Ah-my-conquering-hero look? The poor-chap-holding-up-the-company-all-by-himself treatment? The coffee, the special dinner and the rest of the works? You bet! (Well! All THAT is assuming it is early days in the marital arena! By the time she has heard 'strategy meeting' from you for the zillionth time, it will be "Ho! Hum! Dinner is in the fridge". IF you are lucky, that is.)

Seminal importance, that is the phrase I was looking for. This word is really of seminal importance.

The problem with management is that, by and large, we have to make do with English. The doctors and even the economists are much better off. THEIR jargon gets picked from Latin and, thus, not very susceptible to be hijacked by the hoi polloi. The management guys, though, constantly keep finding their best jargon hijacked. Like for example

"It's been a while since we partied."

"So, what's the strategy?"

Yeah! Right! Like they had to produce a 500 page project report, replete with financial analysis and PERT/CPM charts to get their father to fund the party for them!

Hmmm! Maybe the guys have invented something else to take the place of 'strategy'. One has to somehow stay ahead of the crowd!

If you guys know the replacement word, please inform me in the comments. I'd hate not to be taken for a management guy because of my ignorance of the appropriate jargon.

18 comments:

  1. Very absorbing,I am on my way to becoming a management guru by reading your posts---keep them coming !

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    1. Omigod! The IIMs must be quaking at the thought of management gurus who have learned from me :)

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  2. I still remember my first Strategic Management session in First Year PGP with the question "What is Strategy?" being discussed for a good 90 mins. Most hilarious session of my life by far :)

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  3. Interesting, as always :) I just don't have the right strategy to comment on such a post. Except to say that I enjoyed it! Don't understand the terms PERT, CPM etc (though I can google them if I must know), but I guess that's the point you are trying to make here. Or at least one of the points :)

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    1. Yeah - we management types have to safeguard our jargon with acronyms :) PERT/CPM expands to Project Evaluation and Review Technique/Critical Path Method :)

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  4. I must say that since I recently joined the corporate world....I can relate to the importance of this word. I have been working closely to this word STRATEGY...and boy like you said, it does sound pretty important and serious!!

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  5. Have heard that word a lot and yes sometimes from the husband s details about work :D ha ha

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  6. Ahh ! I loved your strategy :) How about..umm.. company mergers and acquisitions.. that sounds even more important.. and interlock..just came upon that term. The product-customer interlock.. I quite liked it.
    And there was this friend of mine..who was looking for a job and told me that he was well 'Open for a CEO position' .I loved it..as I can always say that too..I can be open, irrespective of whether I am accepted or not ;)

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    1. Thanks Ash! Those suggestions will certainly come in handy in future :)

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  7. We had a guy in our MBA class who was a master jargonist. Oh the words he used. Even his normal conversation would be bouncers on souls like us. Seriously, I guess the MBA types want to just say some out-of-the-a&& stuff to show their mastery. Enjoyed the post!

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    1. Miss out on the jargon and what you say may seem like 'mere' commonsense, Rachna! :) What choice do we have if we are to make ourselves seem like experts :)

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  8. Very interesting as always, Suresh! Thank you:)

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  9. Need to refresh my strategic management studies again, Sureshji :)

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