Cascading Information

CM2009_06_cascadeI’ve heard this a few times lately, I work in a very large company and naturally it’s difficult to communicate a consistent meaningful message to more than 100,000 people. So the tactic employed is to tell the top managers and they’re required to pass it on to their managers, who pass it on down the line to the front line teams of the company.

It sounds sensible in theory, but there are a couple of obvious problems. One is a sender problem; the evaporation of information on the way down the line – each manager chooses how much of the original message to pass on to his/her subordinates. The second is a receiver problem, passing messages along a chain in the game Chinese Whispers leads to distortion in understanding the message fairly quickly.

The third problem is one of perception, as one person commented when nominating the term as one of the most hated business terms at the BBC;

What they really mean is to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards. What they don’t seem to appreciate is that it sounds like we’re being wee’d on.

That alone is enough to put me off using it!

Image; Laurette57 via pixabay

Best of Breed

CM2009_06_Best

“Best of breed”, or “Best in breed” gets applied to an enormous array of services and products. A quick internet search found it in connection to;

I’m sure a more dedicated search would throw up an even greater diversity of uses.

But where did the term come from?

Dog shows.

Dogs compete in various classes, the winners of which go on to compete in successively higher levels until “best in breed” is found. The breeds can then compete with each other in further rounds until a “best in show” is reached. At a very prestigious event, such as Crufts, I guess it’s equivalent to winning the Best Movie Oscar of the dog world.

Apart from the oddness of comparing your plumbing service to a dog, it’s a rather meaningless use of the term. In the dog world the breeds are standardised and defined by various kennel clubs, in the business world there is no such standardisation.

This means that each company could define the breed they were competing in so narrowly that they are the best.

Next time a marketing manager talks about being best in breed ask him why he’s going to the dogs.

This post was inspired by Mirverburg on twitter, if you’ve got a term you’d like to see exposed comment here, or tweet me @changememe

image; 947051 via Pixabay