Weekly Wrap – 6th November 2013


0:51 – Lockdown

1:31 – The leadership group

2:09 – Poorly used adjectives


Hi I am Tom McLeod, Managing Consultant of McLeod Governance.

This is what I would be thinking about this week.

This week I want to talk about the words that are written in our governance and audit reports.

Or more precisely the words that I don’t like seeing in those type of reports.

There are three classic examples for me – and my challenge for you today is to consider how often these words or words like this come up in your governance or audit reports.

The first word is one of the most overused words of the modern era.

And that is – lockdown.

You lockdown a crime scene.

You do not lock down a payroll system.

You do not lock down a fixed assets register.

You shut the payroll system down.  Or you quarantine the fixed assets register.

Lockdown implies something much more severe.

And it is grossly overused in audit reports.  I would have lost count of the number of times – especially in recent years – that I have seen it used as a descriptor in a report.

The second phrase is probably courtesy of every professional sporting team in the world.

The phrase – the leadership group.

Once again, the number of governance and audit reports that I have read describing the leadership group is extraordinary.

My favourite was the one where we talked about “the leadership group of the accounts payable function.”

I subtly – or perhaps not subtly – pointed out to the writer of the report that there is no such thing.

There is a senior management team of the organisation and there are managers of functions.

Leadership groups are best left for fields.

The third area is not actually a specific word or phrase -but rather the poor use of adjectives.

The number of times that I have seen in reports comments such as “there are many instances” or “there is a small amount” or “there are instances where we think”.

They are my pet phrases hates because they are not descriptive enough and nor are they based on fact.

So my challenge to you today is drop the trendy words; drop the adjectives that are too imprecise to provide the reader with any great knowledge and find the words that truly display and truly reflect the underlying facts that you are seeking to convey.


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