What We Say…And What We Really Mean

Our organisation has a clearly defined vision and mission.
The vision and mission are written in the institutional strategic plan and highlighted on our website and in the annual reports. But nobody is very sure what they mean. We do look at them once in a while…like once in five years.

We should frame guiding principles for ourselves.
This is where we throw in ‘rights based approaches’, ‘gender equity’, ‘community ownership’, ‘sustainable development’ and other terms that people (specially donors) are talking about. We can copy and paste these terms in our proposals after that.

Of course, we have an HR policy!
Some people in the organisation may have heard about it. A few may have even read it. The most important thing is that we have an HR policy.

Call all the team members. We need to brainstorm.
I have to get back to the senior management with some innovative ideas. Since I don’t have any, I will source them from the team.

This is a very important meeting and so I want you to write the minutes.
I want you to write the minutes because you are lowest in the pecking order and you don’t have a choice. In fact, I asked you to attend the meeting only for this reason.

I want you to think carefully and then add the sustainability component in the project proposal.
Just write two paragraphs about enhancing people’s capacities etc etc. Make it sound good. In any case, we will look at it again six months before project ends.

The project was a very important learning opportunity for us.
I am not exactly sure what happened in the project and don’t ask me what these learnings were!

We want you to write a balanced report.
The report should highlight our achievements.

(Note: I am happy to state that not all organisations say and mean it this way.)