The business phrasebook | The Economist

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REED HASTINGS HAS built the culture at Netflix around it. Ray Dalio made it a founding principle at Bridgewater, a successful investment fund. “Radical candour” is the idea that bracing honesty is the best way to run a business: no one dances around the truth, and swifter feedback improves performance.

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Most firms rely on a messier doctrine. People rarely say what they mean, but hope that their meaning is nonetheless clear. Think Britain, but with paycheques. To navigate this kind of workplace, you need a phrasebook.

“I hear you”

Ostensible meaning: You’re making a legitimate point
Actual meaning: Be quiet

“Let’s discuss this offline”

Ostensible meaning: We shouldn’t waste other people’s valuable time
Actual meaning: Let’s never speak of this again (see also: “Let’s put a pin in it”)

“We should all…

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