For many years I have been a frequent visitor to the lexicon of Management Jargon and an all too frequent victor in the game of BullPoo bingo.
I have "synergised", "focused on core competencies", "thought out of the box" and on several occasions uttered with feigned sincerity, "I hear you" when what I really meant was "forget it - there's no way that’s gonna happen".
No more. It simply had to stop.
These days I've ditched the 80's management best seller from Tom Peters, "In Search of Excellence", for "In Search of Stupidity" by Merrill Chapman.
A great read for all of you who read "In S of E" as it highlights how almost all of the companies highlighted for their "excellence" in the 80's have now disappeared.
So whats the common thread in "In Search of Stupidity"?
Usually and unsurprisingly given the title, it comes down to organisations committing a stupid screw up or not spotting the blindingly obvious.
So, jettison the jargon, the conclusion is that the only management bull babble you ever need is the "Teenies" extension of KISS, namely - "Keep it Simple and Stop Stupidity - KiSaSS.
Is there perhaps a Japanese car company out there at the moment that wishes it had adopted that mantra?
In case you've been living under a rock or in a Washington igloo, we're talking about the Toyota Brake and Accelerator recall.
Reported in the Times Online as, "Toyota insists that reported braking problems with the Prius are a "phenomenon" rather than a "defect"."
Quite a remarkable statement. Even at moments like this, it’s hard for the classically trained exec to give up on the jargon and the problem becomes a "phenomenon" and not a "defect".
Perhaps I can pull that one out the next time my domestic DIY skills are called upon?
"It’s simply phenomenological that there’s a large hole in the wall, it was not my defective use of the overly large hammer on the very small picture hook."
Regardless of what you call it, the "problem" is associated with the fact that engineers love to fiddle around, car marketing guys love to add new toys and management have apparently let them get away with it.
Even though hydraulic braking systems and wire accelerator cables have worked really well for around a hundred years, there was obviously an insatiable desire to use the latest software driven, fly by wire technology because, well, because they can.
On the flip side, one materials outfit that appears to thrive in the beauty of simplicity is a Cambridge University spin out now based in South Yorkshire UK, Metalysis.
They use a novel process known as FFC (after the founders, Fray Farthing and Chen) to refine metallic oxides.
You can read all about how it works elsewhere, but the big hit over the fence is at the end of their excellent process video when they demonstrate how much simpler their process is compared to the current industry standard Kroll Process.
They have raised some significant sums from Venture Capitalists and attracted key partners including the mining giant BHP Billition - it appears they have a rosy future.
No doubt the customer acceptance of their process and their quest for investment was aided considerably by the power of the simple image which illustrates the removal of around 50 process stages via the beautiful simplicity of the FCC process.
Let’s hope they Keep it Cool and Sell Squillions – KiCaSS!