A reader recently sent me a wonderful piece of corporate babble. Here are some highlights, anonymised to protect the illiterate and rubricated for your reading pleasure.
This guide aims to explain who we are, what services we provide and to set out our values and the way we work. [Ignore the clunky syntax and just absorb the hedging in those words “aims to”. There’s a reason for it.]
What’s our commitment?
The following principles underpin the delivery of our services to customers:
• We work as the supply side and “owner” of the assets with the users being the customers of this service [Right, so you rent stuff to people?]
• We use a variety of channels to deliver services to customers [I’ve changed my mind – you run a postal service that operates by sea! Or is it adult TV?] for example:
o a service desk approach for customers to contact us and report issues. [You mean you have a receptionist? That’s a clue.]
o face to face proactive meetings with key customers e.g. local management teams, office Green Groups. [That’s reassuring – all the best meetings are face to face and proactive.]
• We demonstrate PACE (People, Action and Compelling Evidence) in the way we work [I’d love to be able to do this – can you tell me what it means? You weren’t just shoehorning words into a dynamic-sounding acronym, were you?]
• We challenge inefficiency and ‘old ways of working’ and adopt a more “commercial” approach [Except when it comes to writing, where inefficiency rocks!]
• We are ‘can do’ and deliver practical solutions to problems [C’mon, you just cut and pasted this bit from someone else’s website because you thought it sounded good, didn’t you?]
• We work in partnership with the business – working together with local teams to ensure an appropriate and fully compliant service is provided e.g. working with local Operations Delivery Teams at depots to ensure the full range of Site Responsible Office duties are carried out. [I’m pretty sure you could have said this using 25% of the verbiage (and still kept that rather S&Mish “fully compliant service” bit I like).]
• We deliver services in a nationally consistent way with ongoing development of national standards and contracts where needed. [Is it just me, but is this statement itself a little inconsistent?]
• We drive and deliver efficiencies, including the reduction of support costs as our property portfolio is reduced. [Driving and delivering efficiencies? Cut and paste job again?]
What services do we deliver?
We have organised our National Service into 3 Operational Teams and a single national Technical Team that together deliver a range of services as summarised below;
• Ensure all workplaces are legally compliant; including the management of asbestos; legionella and fire risks and the control of contractors working on our sites; [You see, that’s the problem with risk. It can only ever be managed, not eliminated (see oil spills, financial crises etc). And hey, a little bit of asbestos in the workplace never killed anyone – not straight away, anyway. After all, that big, famous building in the City of London’s still a viable workplace and it’s been an open secret for years that it has a managed asbestos risk.]
• Maintain and improve our property portfolio by ensuring there are appropriate programmes of planned preventative maintenance and that environmental improvements are implemented wherever possible to reduce the overall carbon footprint of a site [I’m wondering how much that flabby, overlong sentence has added to your carbon footprint.]
• Undertake re-active repairs to keep our buildings open; [Because repairing stuff that’s not broken is really inefficient – how on the ball!]
We’ll know when we’re succeeding when our customers:
• see us as responsive, with a ‘can do’ attitude and recognise that we don’t over-complicate things; working in a simple but effective way and always thinking about the outcome we are helping to achieve [Again, except in your writing.]
• notice that we apply the 80/20 rule to ensure we provide the right level of information and no more and always communicate it in a clear and simple way [Sorry to be picky, but the right level of information here might have involved explaining what the 80/20 rule is.]
• respect our skills and expertise and feel that we fully understand their needs in terms of the services and the timescales in which they need them, and know that we will deliver the response they require when they need it [If I become a customer will you fully understand my need for you to finish that sentence in a shorter timescale?]
• have ‘go to’ people within Corporate Assets, following a business partnering approach, who will act as their key point of contact and who will provide the link to, and speak for us and Corporate Assets [So you mean “know who to call in Corporate Assets”? The rambling nature of that sentence makes me wonder if getting put through to my ‘go to’ person in Corporate Assets will be an equally tortuous process.]
• believe we demonstrate good value for any functional money allocated to a specific work stream [In other words: “Just keep believing, buddy. And by the way, we don’t want any of that non-functional money you gave us last time”.]
Have you spotted some gobbledygook that needs the Good Copy, Bad Copy treatment? If so, get in touch!