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Watch Your Language!

By Art van Bodegraven | 01/15/2011 | 7:46 AM

Mark Twain is much in the news, thanks to the release of the first volume of his uncensored autobiography and to the well-intentioned proposal to turn Huckleberry Finn into Dick and Jane See Spot Run.  Twain was a stickler for using the right word or phrase, differentiating between "lightning" and "lightning bug."

I thought about that when the resident six-year-old asked his grandmother to shovel the cards so they could play Go Fish.  He made up for it later by helping me shuffle snow from the driveway.

Business examples abound.  The financial advisor, for example, who could guarantee increased prophets.  Hey, between MSNBC and Fox News, we've got just about all the prophets we can tolerate.  Then, there is the otherwise-respected systems house whose web site promises services that "span the gambit."  From what?  The Sicilian to Blackmar-Diemer?

Point is, in business relationships, supply chain or other, words matter.  You've got to know what they mean - and what they imply.  And, your words must be rooted in hands-on experience.  Using the latest cliche simply because it sounds elegant, and looks good in the brochure won't cut it for long.  Your language, in business and in all facets of life, needs to be authentic, reflecting your true self.  Attempting to build relationships without authenticity involves risks of: if you are skilled, being perceived as a con game; or, if you are less-practiced, being seen as a wanna-be poseur. 

Either way, the relationship potential is in jeopardy, and you lose.

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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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