Stakeholders required for best practice gobbledygook
Traditional signs of approaching armageddon include famines, earthquakes and (if you happen to be in a Simpsons movie) the fatal dissolving of a rock band’s barge in polluted lake water.
To this chilling list of end-of-days omens, I would like to add: opaquely-worded advertisements for jobs which seem to exist in dimensions accessible only to those fluent in management-ese.
Take, as just one terrifying example, the large “worker wanted” ad I snipped from a prominent page in a Sydney broadsheet newspaper not too many Saturdays ago. It announces that a “Change Manager – Transformation Leader” is required for a “newly created step change role, within a recently amalgamated business of 7000+ employees”.
So far so promising. After all, what child doesn’t say that when they grow up they want to be a doctor, astronaut or Change Manager – Transformation Leader? Certainly many of my fondest childhood memories are of gathering with my little chums to amalgamate businesses and step change 7000+ drones.
Let’s read on.
“As part of the executive team, you will… be responsible for driving a transformation program across several major streams. This organisational reform will increase efficiencies and effectiveness, improve service delivery and build more effective stakeholder relations.”
Hmmm. Obviously the major streaming business has something to do with the ad’s accompanying graphic (it depicts colourful people rowing a canoe over the slogan “talent with impact”). But how does this fit in with all those reformees relating to each other’s steps while holding stakes?
Part two sheds a sum total of zero light on the situation.
“To succeed in this role you will have extensive experience: directing large scale, complex reform programs using best practice methodologies; introducing new operating business models; engaging staff; and embedding a culture of change.”
Holy crap! Operating on business models? Embedding a culture of change? Are these things even legal without anaesthetic?
While I’m as passionate about commercial acumen as the next innovative strategist, there’s something terribly unsettling about recruiting personnel for a position whose exact nature cannot be articulated in plain English.
Given that no line of business, employer or tangible duties are named, who knows what lies behind these administrative euphemisms and senior management shibboleths?
Driving a transformation program could mean anything, including sacking all teachers whose surname starts with “P”, or – as George Saunders suggests in his short story Pastoralia – feeding staff less food and more chemical constipators in order to reduce the costs associated with biological output disposal.
So please join me in signalling our strong disinterest in such weasel wording before it’s too late and the corporate zombie apocalypse organisationally embeds us all.
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