Conversations in layers

I stumbled on this crude graphic that I blogged back in 2004. I was making a point about a specific piece of marketing jargon, “brand architecture”. I think the same idea would apply to many of the fancy terms bandied about in organisations.

Whatever the intention, it strikes me that any communication has its surface meaning but it also carries other less explicit signals. The subtexts. And these all have their impact as well, in particular on our sense of status. It’s why efforts at “precise communication” are likely to be doomed.

I particularly like that line about the guy at the top feeling “powerful but strangely lonely”. That captures the paradoxical discomfort of people who have captured at least the semblance of power but know something’s not quite right. It’s a discomfort that often leads to abuse.

And it’s another reason why I am keen on people physically performing as part of training. And why there’s only so much value in learning from a book.

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