TSI Blog

Lhyk shoeteng ghoti in ah baruhl

April 25th, 2017 by Oliver Newton

BarrellYou are probably thinking my spell checker is broken from the title, but you’d be wrong (I know this as it is showing angry red lines under the words above as I type this). What I have written makes sense when you speak it out loud, even though it doesn’t on paper. It is the phrase –

“Like shooting fish in a barrel”

Ghoti is a creative respelling of the word fish, using some of the strange irregularities in the English language.

·         gh, pronounced [f] as in enough [ɪˈnʌf] or tough [tʌf];

·         o, pronounced [ɪ] as in women [ˈwɪmɪn]; and

·         ti, pronounced [ʃ] as in nation [ˈneɪ̯ʃən] or motion [ˈməʊʃən].
The other two words I took from how they are pronounced phonetically. Technically correct, but you have to think a bit harder to work out what the message is. You have to read the above paragraphs to find out the meaning, when it should be clear within one sentence.

This can be an issue in communication within a company. Sometimes different departments use specialised terms or abbreviations that others outside may not be familiar with, leading to confusion, or having to clarify key points. In one organisation, their survey wanted to look for feedback on senior management. The organisation had seven levels, so the senior management could be anywhere from levels four and up. Which of those four did they want feedback for? Could this be avoided by them being more clear in the terms they used?

Sometimes, the corporate message or vision is written in such a way that only those familiar with such language will able be to immediately understand. Those below in other parts of the organisation will have to seek clarity for what they mean, leading to a potential cascade effect, especially as people may put their own interpretation on the sentiment.

A great site for showing how these messages can be put together with corporate speak, that may or may not be confusing, is this mission generator site http://cmorse.org/missiongen/

One I quickly created from there is:

“It is our responsibility to synergistically coordinate revolutionary leadership skills as well as quickly operationalize excellent infrastructures for 100% customer satisfaction.”

Why not change this to:

“Our leaders work together with staff efficiently and effectively, to satisfy our customers”

If your staff; even your managers; are having to work out what your vision is, how can you ensure they are carrying it out exactly how the leadership wants it to? Could there be an issue in translation?

From your experiences, are there any times where staff have needed to have statements/visions/goals explained more clearly to them? How has this affected their engagement?

Please comment below with your thoughts.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoti

The Survey Initiative are an experienced employee research company. If you would like to know more about how we can help your organisation with any employee research matters, then give us a call on +44 (0)1255 870735 or contact us via our website.

 

Written by Oliver Newton
Joining from Essex County Council with over 10 years experience and expertise in databases, data interrogation and programming. Oliver is working on streamlining and improving our reporting processes (Oliver is a budding Amateur dramatic performer).

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