Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Remaining Competitive

"We need to remain competitive." You hear that a lot from PR people after a company announces a big layoff or a facility closing.
I try to imagine in what kind of competition a competitor could be competitive by remaining anything. Competitive napping? They always use competitive with a passive voiced verb and say that it's something they want or need. We want to be competitive. We need to be competitive in the marketplace.
Who is this we? I don't think it's the workers who are losing their jobs who would rather sacrifice their livelihood so the company can only remain competitive. It sounds too much like the company is relaxing into a nice competitive position in a hammock. Ah, so peaceful around the office without those workers making a racket.
Why even use the passive voice when describing the motivation behind a tough decision? It's like they found the most dead verb and then used it in the weakest possible way!
Wouldn't it be more considerable to change the company's rhetoric? At least use an active voiced sentence. I think everyone would prefer to hear something like this.
"We're struggling to compete in the global marketplace. Our competitors are taking advantage of lax employment, accounting, and environmental regulations in a developing country. We cannot compete with their margins with our operations in the US.
We exhausted every alternative and it pains us to say that we're shipping our Human Resources, Public Relations, Accounting, and Finance departments to China. Operations will stay in the US. This move will position us to remain competitive in the marketplace."
A man can dream, can't he.

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