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The Economist explains what some business phrases really mean

Modern business phrasebook. Photo: The Economist

Modern business phrasebook. Photo: The Economist

Reed Hastings built the Netflix culture around it. Ray Dalio made this a guiding principle at Bridgewater, a successful investment fund. This refers to the principle of Radical Candor, the idea that honesty is the best way to do business. In this case, no one is dancing around the truth, and faster feedback improves productivity.

However, the British magazine The Economist notes that most companies and organizations rely on more complex doctrine. People rarely speak bluntly about what they mean. At the same time, they hope that the meaning of what they said is clear to others. In practice, this understanding is not always the case. Therefore, the magazine has published its short business phrasebook that is only partly a joke.

"I hear you"

What is allegedly said: Your point of view is well-grounded.

Actual meaning: You better be quiet.

"Let's discuss this offline"

What is allegedly said: We should not waste other people’s precious time.

Actual meaning: Let's never talk about this again.

"We should all learn to walk in each other's shoes"

What is allegedly said: Shared understanding delivers better results.

Actual meaning: I need you to know that my job is a living hell.

"I'm just curious…"

What is allegedly said: I would like to know why you think that...

Actual meaning: ... because it doesn't make sense to anyone else.

"How great to have started this conversation"

What is allegedly said: We have raised an important issue.

Actual meaning: We have made absolutely no progress.

"I wanted to keep you updated"

What is allegedly said: I am telling you something minor.

Actual meaning: I should have told you this a few weeks ago.

"Do you have five minutes?"

What is allegedly said: I have something trivial to say.

Actual meaning: I am in deep, deep trouble.

"Let's handle this asynchronously"

What is allegedly said: Each of us will work on this task in our own time.

Actual meaning: I need to go to my Pilates class now.

"It's on the product roadmap"

What is allegedly said: It will be done soon.

Actual meaning: It will not be done soon.

"We are moving to a agile framework"

What is allegedly said: We will work interactively in response to user feedback.

Actual meaning: We are planning to go round in circles.

"This is an outdated technology stack"

What is allegedly said: This is a rat's nest of old and incompatible systems.

Actual meaning: None of this is our fault.

"We are a platform business"

What is allegedly said: We provide an ecosystem in which others can interact.

Actual meaning: Let's pretend we are a tech firm and see what happens to our valuation.

"We are planning for the metaverse"

What is allegedly said: We are ready for a shared, exciting digital world.

Actual meaning: Oh, look, here is a winner!

"Bring your whole selves to work"

What is allegedly said: Be sincere and don't be afraid to show your vulnerability.

Actual meaning: Of course, you don't need to give yourself up to the last bit.

A lot can be said about encrypted communication, The Economist notes. At work, people learn to manage social interactions, not define their existence. However, "stupidity" is exhausting, as people are constantly getting fancy in words to avoid open conflict. Radical candor is associated with firms that pay very well. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this approach drives to greater success.

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