When I left the Chicago Tribune newspaper to become Managing Editor at an educational think-tank, I found it quizzical and lonesome that my new coworkers spoke a variation of the English language heretofore unbeknowst to me.
Three words in particular underscored my difference from them: “policy,” “building capacity,” and “think-a-loud.”
I still don’t understand what they meant by “policy” but am convinced that neither do most politicians, whose job it is to establish and abide it. At the newspaper, policy meant what your boss says to do….do that. Maybe it’s the same in government.
“Building capacity” strikes me as way to get other people doing what “policy” indicates they should do. That’s cool, but I don’t understand why capacity needs a building intervention. At the newspaper, the prevailing notion was what your boss says to do….do that. If you did not have the capacity, go away.
I very much like the term “think-a-loud.” It’s a conversation that falls somewhere between a chat and a consult. Actually, it’s an excuse to ensnare a colleague into letting you talk his or her ears off. At the newspaper, this was why we came to work in the first place.