Please Do Not Leverage Actionable Frameworks

I was doing a little business reading today.  When I came across a tweet on the Business Week article Embedding Innovation in Leadership, about General Electric’s recent innovation training initiatives, I was intrigued.  GE clearly has one of the best people development programs of all big companies, and I enjoy learning from their practices.

Unfortunately, the article was mostly a rehash of time-worn homilies like getting leadership buy-in and sharing best practices.  Really, is this what passes for business writing these days?  But the part that motivated me to blog about it was this stinker:

Leverage actionable frameworks. GE applies a “three-box” framework to strategic planning that helps leaders balance managing through the present, which is largely about driving efficiencies, and creating the future, which is about innovation. Translating a concept like innovation into a workable framework enables leaders and their teams to apply new strategies with consistency and rigor across the organization.

“Leverage actionable frameworks”?  That’s one of the more meaningless pieces of corporate jargon I’ve come across recently.  I think it might mean having a defined process, which is vague enough.  This is one of those cases where it’s better not to write anything than to remove all doubt.  The writers would have done better to focus on one element of GE’s innovation strategy and actually explain it in action.  That’s why I enjoy war stories so much; they’re inherently specific.  In contrast, writing that strives to be professional and analytical often just obfuscates the real issues.

I’m being a little particular about this, but the reason is that clear communication is one of the requirements for good strategic thinking.  If you spend all of your time trying to make non-ideas sound like ideas, you lose your ability to accurately judge your company’s direction, not to mention your own.