Organizationspeak

As the weeks have continued on at SFCG, I have become more aware of my broken language skills in (what another intern termed) “organizationspeak.” This is a made up phrase, I think, but it captures well the phenomenon. I hope it doesn’t hearken too literally to Orwell’s Brave New World. When sitting in meetings with my colleagues, I found initially that the plethora of English words carried little meaning to me. Part of it is my nascent familiarity with the organizational concept on which I’m working: knowledge management. That phrase alone carried almost no meaning to me initially. From what I gather, however, it is about trying to nurture the enumeration and sharing of knowledge across the organization. But even this carries little weight with me. What knowledge? I struggle to link the rhetoric to the real world.

With a rudimentary notion of the task at hand, I dived into the meeting with a suggestion for a real end product of the whole knowledge management project. I was proud of my gumption. On the “action plan,” someone had typed “wiki.” I drew everyone’s attention to it. Developing a wiki for the organization would be a simple, relatively cheap task that allows for tagging and cross-referencing articles on information from anyone. It’s decentralized and simple to use so the headquarters personnel are not the only ones with the keys to it. It’s adaptable and can incorporate multimedia aspects if necessary. I pointed all these aspects out as necessary components of a knowledge management plan. Maybe, I said, a wiki is not the answer to all the problems, but it could be a major component of an end product. The silence and stares caused a bead of sweat to form across my brow.

I’m not entirely sure if I did something wrong, or if I completely misinterpreted the project or problem. It was awkward though. I tried. Perhaps it has something to do with my use of normal English, rather than organizationspeak.

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