The Best and Worst of Jargon

For better or for worse, most professions have their own special jargon. For better, because this verbal shorthand can help make our working lives more efficient. For worse, because it has the power to exclude outsiders. Jargon can also be a cop-out for deep reflection. Indeed, one cynic said that the institution invents jargon because it saves people from having to really talk to each other. But before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, let’s go a little deeper. In his writing Masterclass, author Malcolm Gladwell devotes an entire lecture to the topic. “The nature of jargon can tell you much about the world”, he says. There are two types worth noting: The first is the type that

How Trevor Manuel made his message stick

Government departments are famous their endless flow of abstract statistics which, in turn, shape nebulous and often hopelessly inept policies. But life is not abstract and people are not statistics. Sadly, most government ministers never get the memo. One exception was former Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel. Depending on your political inclinations, many South Africans yearn for the “Trevor years“. Manuel presided over SA’s first budget surplus in 2007. 12 years prior, the World Economic Forum had already spotted his potential, naming him “World Leader for Tomorrow”. Under Trevor, things seemed stable and well run. Even predictable. One notable aspect of his leadership toolkit was

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