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Grow your own

Everyone should welcome Michael Skapinker’s plea for corporate executives to use clear language.

“Every time a chief executive utters the words [grow the company], we must leap up and say: ‘What do you mean you plan to “grow the company”? What is it, exactly, that you are planning to “grow”? Are you going to increase sales, do you intend to to raise profit margins, do you plan to employ more people, or what? You remind me of all those supposed dotcom millionaires. They had no idea what made companies prosper. They were the people who claimed companies did not even have to make profits. They, too, talked endlessly about “growing the company”. It was a sloppy phrase and it hid sloppy thinking. I fear the same applies to you. Tell us what you mean. Don’t try to bamboozle us with your meaningless words.'”

I fear, however, for the success of his crusade. Sloppy language is too deeply imprinted in many parts of society, with business the main offender.

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