Quirktastic or Corporate Bingo

Ever read a passage from an article on a lazy Sunday afternoon while sipping a cappuccino, and say, “Man, I totally gotta lift that and make that the basis of my next blog post?”

Nope, me neither.

I also remember watching my dad speak to everyone in the town square on the Fourth of July. He was up in this little white gazebo, and he was talking about the state of the city. He used the word “ain’t” at least a dozen times, so afterward I gave him the gift of feedback. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Are you really trying to help me get better or are you embarrassed?”

I said, “Honestly, a little bit of both.”

He said: “Son, this is who I am. And look out there. This is who they are. And if they can see me be imperfect and be the mayor, then one of them will aspire to be the mayor, too. People prefer their leaders with flaws because it makes these positions more attainable for the rest of us.

Here, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, in an interview by Adam Bryant for yesterday’s ‘Corner Office’ column of the SundayBusiness section of The New York Times, talks about his parents. In the process, he talks about the benefits of appearing human when in a position of leadership. Sure, the mayorship appears more attainable, and I would argue that is because the mayor appears more relatable.

Ever listen to a public relations message or a corporate pep talk and it is littered with stuffy-sounding jargon? “At the end of the day”, “Productize”, “Quality Initiative”, “Deliverable”, “Going Forward”, “Opportunity For Improvement”, some buzzphrases sound self-aggrandizing, some of these come off as adding no value, some do both, and man do these really grind my gears. They are very effective at being incredibly impersonal. Don’t use them.

Be relatable.

Hell, I’m trying, but that’s because I’m really a robot.

A handsome, charming, Spanish, sword-fighting robot. Don’t tell my wife.