On Seniority

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

I notice the word “senior” used a lot in business speak. On The Apprentice the other week Donald introduced two execs from P&G and emphasised that they were “senior”, with no clue as to what that meant. These two seemed perfectly nice people but I don’t think they had anything terribly insightful to say that some “junior” couldn’t have said equally well.

And today I see that Tom Peters is offering a summit for a “small group of senior executives” (my italics)

This seems to go with a tendency that I’ve noticed especially in American business books, which seem to reverence status – sometimes the list of acknowledgements consists entirely of Dr this and Professor that.

Maybe I’m just a cynical limey, but I find this all a bit elitist. And as someone brought up on Monty Python I find it hard to take reverence for status too seriously. Reading Tom’s exuberant iconoclasm, I really think he’d be just as thrilled to mix with some junior people who have things to say – so I’m guessing that this is an unconscious attempt to assure senior people that they’re important really. Or perhaps it’s code for “have a fair bit of money to spend on this sort of thing” ? Actually, I’d like to know what Tom really means by senior in this context.

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