Weird Al Yankovich’s triumphal quest to parody the known universe has taken a well-deserved jab at business-speak. Anyone who has endured a corporate job at any level has to smile at his latest video, “Mission Statement” and it’s assault on how business leaders talk. What’s wonderful about this video is that the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Weird Al masterfully strings-together corporate jargon and phrases revealing how truly senseless they can sound, particularly when simmered in a sauce of Crosby-Stills & Nash-based harmonies.
The song is entertaining on its own, but the video (obviously put together by someone incredibly well acquainted with visualizing concepts for corporate clients), amplifies the message tenfold. The “Mission Statement” video not only works as a perfect accompaniment to the song, it (perhaps unintentionally) educates people about what some of the corporate gibberish actually means. Corporate buzzwords make very little sense when crammed together with corporate buzzwords. Visual thinking can help the rest of us understand the elusive meaning of these terms.
I write this while returning from a business trip where words such as “Flexibility,” ”Teamwork,” and “Support” were agreed upon as foundational to helping a company’s employees understand and adopt a new initiative. These terms, like Weird Al’s song, might mean nothing when taken out of context, but the visuals we are creating to accompany the concepts help tell a story that will not only give the words context but help people understand behaviors they should adopt as a result of the initiative that is being deployed. That’s right, I said ‘initiative,’ and I can make a pretty convincing drawing to illustrate the concept.