Cat plays better than I do.
The other day I got an email that is directed at some executive types that some people I know in executive places were going ga ga over. It was entitled elephants in the agile room. Basically it was a story about a bunch execs going to a ski lodge and half went skiing and the other half sat down and actually figured out what was wrong with their company, identifying problems as being "elephants" in the room, so they went elephant hunting and actually got something done. I broke it down real simple because it takes a normal person 2 to 3 reads to get the exact meaning of what was said in the email, and once I did I just couldn't help but laugh.
First off, I have noticed in the corporate an excessive use of metaphors. Even when the concept is clear and concise, they average corporate CEO/ president/ or other C-level guy wants to tell it in a metaphor. This is something ingrained at the college level because I have seen guys fresh from the book farm do the something, and after a while, it makes them look like condescending idiots, but they think it is genius. A metaphor should only be used to illustrate a complex point in a way that someone who is other wise not getting the idea. In networking we have to on occasion use a metaphor for a user who does not understand networking is mad because they can not do something they want to do. This is acceptable and common, however telling a bunch of laymen that you went to a ski lodge for elephant hunting does not endear them to your cause.
Second, such a excessive use of metaphors clouds the subject and trivializes it. Be to the point with your companies problems in normal meetings, your emails, and phone calls and you will "slay" one mighty elephant right there (<--- effective use of metaphor) because with direct and concise communication, you can identify a lot of crap as it comes up, and then when you take your ski meeting when things are doing well, you all can go skiing! No need to come around and circle the wagons later (<---- I hate the circle the wagons metaphor)
Third, when communicating to the employees who are on the lower part of the totem pole (<---- Native American metaphor, considered politically incorrect to use in conjunction with the circle of wagons one) and you spout off your strange and convoluted meta-logic (<--- new term) most except the most daft or the ones who where clockwork oranged during their college days for business (<---- pop culture reference and a metaphor for brain washing) you are going to seem distant and elitist which is very bad. In a time when people hate the people who run companies out of principle, your not helping your cause by condescending, or talking a bunch of nonsense. Leadership should be inspiring and using worn out tools that you were told in college is the key is not the way it is done (<--- a very apropos metaphor right there).
One last thing, don't think your IT guys only know computer shit, we have to survive in a world that is ever changing, contradictory, and not for the feint of heart. Remember if we can figure out what the acronyms we use everyday mean and can set up an network that makes a company millions work right, we can see through a lot of other bs too.