Saturday, 23 July 2011

Do you know what you are doing?

I had a newsletter from a friend who is an Exec Search consultant in the public sector - Evelyn Dougherty at Solace.. loved this comment!

Rather unusually I have been working on a Chief Executive appointment outside local government.  Several of the short listed candidates however were senior managers in local government.  It was very marked at final interview stage that local government has developed a language all of its own. At times the Chair and his Board making this particular appointment found the phrases used by the local government candidates simply impenetrable. There was a mistaken assumption on the part of the candidates that everyone would be familiar with phrases such as ‘transformational change agenda’, ‘sustainable communities’, ‘place shaping’ and ‘engagement’.  An interesting debate ensued in which the highly educated Board members mused on whether ‘officialese’ is alive and kicking in council offices up and down the country. If so then it is surely an impediment to good communication with residents and employees. It is clear that much work has been done in a number of councils campaigning for a return to a more sensible use of English in all communications. Most tellingly when pressed by Panel Members to explain in ‘lay terms’ what some of their expressions actually meant some of the candidates found this extremely difficult!

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