Let’s end the acronyms

As I take my first steps into working at a larger organization, I reflect on the number of differences between the hierarchy and governance of a team of thousands versus a team of 20.

Despite the fundamental shift in processes, one thing remains a constant—the overuse of acronyms to describe everything.

In business, context is everything. One of the most important lessons you will learn as a manager is that nomenclature is key. If one person calls a thing a doodad, another calls it a hoosimawhatsit, and a third group calls it a widget, you had better bring everyone together to decide on a uniform term.

This is where I don’t get acronyms. I challenge you to ask people what acronyms mean as they state them. Chances are good, nobody truly understands the context. When I started my latest job, I was given a spreadsheet with a list of acronyms and what they meant, like I was decoding a puzzle. Despite this, I had to manually add roughly 30 more acronyms to this spreadsheet for terms NOT included!

What do I do? I state things out in conversation and in writing. If I am writing something, I might include the acronym after the full version of the phrase, but I will always start with the phrase. While it is more exhausting than saying two less words, it is less exhausting than having a team that is not aligned on the direction forward.

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