A business management guru got up and said, “Our alliance stands alone in demonstrating the extensivity of integrated partnerships with other collaboratives. We have shifted the paradigm from stand alones to a mission critical proactive groupwide culture.”
No one understood what he said, and, yet, no one asked any questions. They all seemed to agree that it sounded good and must make sense. So it occurred to me that you do not need an MBA, you need only to know how to communicate like the one. To make it easy, I’ve constructed the three columns of buzzwords below.
Think of any three-digit number; then select the corresponding buzzword from each column. For instance, number 257 produces “systemized logistical throughput,” a phrase that can be dropped into virtually any business report with that ring of authority. No one will know what you’re talking about, but it probably won’t be admitted by anyone.
10. DATA WAREHOUSE
15. ECO-CENTRIC CORE
Example: “I’ve studied the heuristic policy time-phases and concluded we need more worker benefits in order to synchronize our third-generation contingencies.” See how easy it is to sound like an MBA.
MBAs today learn all the definitions, jargon and buzzwords used in business but are unable to explain the nature of their business in elementary terms. Our schools have substituted definition for knowledge. You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. To understand a bird you have to study and observe what it’s doing….that’s what counts. This is the difference between knowing the name of something and understanding something.
The word elementary in this context does not mean easy. Rather, it means that very little is required to know ahead of time in order to understand it, except to have an infinite amount of intelligence. It’s extraordinarily difficult to abstract the simplest essences, the form in which things can be understood and problems solved—and, I suppose, this is why so many MBAs would rather “drink it in before they ask the wetware to drill down.”
Michael Michalko is the author of the highly acclaimed Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques; Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius; ThinkPak: A Brainstorming Card Deck and Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work.