Word Play

October 10th, 2012

Some business terms become so frequently shared in meetings they earn a place in the cliché hall of fame. Ranking at the top of the list might be (cliché alert) ‘outside the box,’ ‘synergy’ and ‘value-added’. (In fact, type ‘overused’ into Google and guess what comes up: ‘business phrases’.) Yet there is one word I’m hearing recently from clients that might have staying power without evolving into hyped MBA-speak.

Defined by Webster’s as “a subtle distinction or variation,” the word ‘nuance’ – and its companion in plural form – seems the perfect description for the not-so-obvious things a leader must notice in order to succeed.

“I think the biggest opportunity for me is to develop a better understanding of the nuances that exist in this organization when it comes to getting things accomplished.”

“Susie is doing a good job. Now the question becomes will she be able to navigate the nuances necessary to achieve results in her role?”

“It’s essential for John to stay strategic and look ahead, yet not lose track of the nuances for executing his team’s plan.”

While I like to focus clients on Rocks – those big items you need to identify and accomplish in order to (cliché alert) move the needle – there appears to be validation for not forgetting to (cliché alert) sweat the small stuff. So, the next time you think about how to improve, grow and develop in your career, be sure to consider the subtleties.

The best way to summarize the point I’m trying to make here is: it is what it is. After all, the more things change the more they stay the same. Now, get back to work. Time is money. And, if this advice doesn’t improve your performance, don’t blame me. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

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