Recently a federal microbiologist coined the term, “pink slime.”  It refers to the lean, finely textured beef that is extracted from the small bits of meat and bone left over during various steps in normal meat processing.  The microbiologist was grossed out by the appearance and hence the unflattering name.

Long story short—Pink slime is not bad for you; it is good for you.  Pink slime represents increased efficiency and effectiveness in extracting the full value of the meat via its processing.

What this situation so well illustrates is the power of words and the ensuing power of people’s perceptions.  When I initially heard about pink slime, I pictured all kinds of gross, dirty, toxic materials mixed into my hamburger.  Yet the more I researched the topic, the more I found that was not the truth.

Great power resides in names, labels, titles, and terms.  Sometimes that power works productively.  Sometimes that power wastes everyone’s time and resources.  For good or for bad, public relations people know this all too well, and so should the rest of us.

Words have meaning.  Words are powerful.  Nevertheless, instead of immediately relying on the initial impact of the words, we are wise to reserve judgment.  Sometimes words are served up with a spin.  By seeking the truth behind the words, we arrive at reality.

Where’s the beef?  Right where it has always been.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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