Improvement Insights Blog
Jargon vs Clarity
Ever noticed how long it takes people to learn to speak the jargon of Lean Six Sigma and Quality Improvement? Maybe it’s time for a change.
“Over my 30+ years in Quality Improvement I’ve learned all kinds of Japanese words like “kaizen” and “gemba” and “Ishikawa.” Nothing’s worse than “statistical process control” because nobody likes statistics, everybody thinks processes are boring and control is something that nobody in the United States of America likes, right? They just don’t.
“So, I think we become jargon-rich and clarity-poor. There’s a reason we call an Ishikawa diagram a “fishbone diagram,” because we’re trying to get to clarity. What are control charts? Well, they’re smart performance charts; they track performance and they have some smarts built into them. We call them statistics but they are just smart, all right? They went to college, took statistics, they’re good to go, right?
“So how do we start to change our language? Get out of our jargon so that we stop being like priests speaking Latin, right? We have to find a way to start to speak English (and not the queen’s English, but something simple, right?) that everyone can understand.
“So that’s my Improvement Insight this week: Start to find ways to turn your jargon into clarity that everyone can understand, and you’ll notice because they’ll perk up and they’ll listen.
“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”