Smart thinkers [Archives:2002/42/Business & Economy]

October 14 2002

The Road Ahead
[email protected]
In any business organization, the administrators, with all their knowledge and expertise, substitute talk for action because that is what they have been trained for.
Since their days in business schools, they knew that those who sound smart and write smart things in essay examinations make stronger impressions on their professors, and hence get ahead. The same concept may apply in the workplace; those who sound smart are more likely to emerge as leaders. In fact, people who are thought to be more intelligent get hired, promoted, and assigned to coveted and better jobs.
Middle management is the part of the company responsible for processing the administrator’s smart talk. Their job is to understand all the jargon and complex language, ideas and concepts, shape it, enrich it with all the details it requires, and facilitate its process. They communicate it to the parts of the organization that are supposed to take action. But there is a difference between this and between what actually happens in practice.
One of the problems facing organizations is the myth that simple prescriptions are not of much value. This myth is common in middle managements. This in turn overwhelms the work force with complex instructions, jargons and smart talk.
This creates a communication gap between the management and the workforce known as the knowing – doing gap. The management should be able to explain organizational strategies with clarity, not impress the employees. No ordinary business organization can perform effectively while its employees are confused about their tasks and the organizational strategies.
Companies that know how to perform effectively have managers who make it a priority to get the work done. These are the types of managers who know and do the work. Their knowledge of the technical know-how should be associated with the practical implementations because they know the experience is the best teacher.
More over, they have a bias for plain language and simple concepts. Plain talk and simple concepts often lead to action, which is usually the job of the lower organization. That is key to success in any business.
In conclusion, smart talk may be a trendy way of presenting ideas and concepts or showing off, but a good manager should use it only when he is sure it will work for the best interests of the organization. Managers should know about the tasks performed by them in order to ensure their best understanding of working concepts and implement them.
Endnote: People try to sound smart not only by being critical but also by using trendy, pretentious language. But still, that is not as effective as plain and simple language and concepts, especially when it comes to getting things done through and with people.