Terms of Art

Found myself thinking today about the specific words that come of my mouth in professional settings. Like any field or endeavour, advocacy work has a distinct lingo.

Words, terms of art, catchphrases, even hackneyed clichés become tools of the trade.

This work is all about relationships. And this blog entry is all about words used in those relationships. I work with stakeholder groups and individuals, with other trade groups/advocacy organizations, with hired professional service providers and product vendors. I interact with people who do what I do in different industries. We spend a lot of time with elected and appointed government officials at every level and I work closely with colleagues and co-workers.

Most importantly, I am honored and privileged to stand up for and work alongside family farmers and ranchers struggling with change. Men, women and children who have made a conscious, values-based choice to build their lives and follow their dreams in rural Kansas.

Some of these words describe situations, some relate to specific individuals, most of them relate to big-picture, long term, ongoing efforts and projects. (I do a lot of that.)

This is the nomenclature of my professional life. These are the words I've found myself saying in the last few days in meetings, discussions, phone calls and hallway conversations all aimed at the same goal: To preserve a rural Kansas culture.

Fall on a sword.
Take a bullet.
Use us as a fig leaf.
No fingerprints.
Bump it up your chain.
Has to be someone else's idea.
Grenade thrower.
Take some temperatures.
The smartest guy in the room.
Ideologues can't govern.
Hold their hand.
Didn't dive under the table fast enough.
Intellectual capacity.
Agenda-driven.
Salute smartly and march forward.
Steering a battleship.
Manage expectations.
Suit 'em up and charge the Hill.
Low idiot tolerance.
Just walk away, Renée.
Fluid document/process.
Gold-plated pain in the ass.
Get a feel/get a sense/get a direction/get a vibe.
Lead with the rah-rah.
Co-opt the naysayers.
Recognize their limitations.
Flow chart savvy.
Endgame.
Outcome.

And my two personal favorites:

Drinking the Kool-Aid.
You're a real boy now, Pinocchio.