Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Handling adversity can be the making of a CEO.
After all, self-help books are full of clichés about failure being the best thing that can happen to you and how you learn far more in the bad times about people than in the good.
I confess, however, to marveling at the words chosen by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, as he unveiled disappointing results last week.
His brand is struggling to appear fashionable. It has one of the most marketable players in basketball as its endorser -- Stephen Curry -- and it's released shoes in his name that have all the style of expectorating in church.
Words are important.
So what words would Plank use to explain the company's struggles?
Here's what he offered on the subject of the Curry 3 shoe: "And while the 3 played very well on court for Stephen Curry and our athletes, a sluggish signature market and a warm consumer reception led to softer-than-expected results."
Might I offer a liberal translation of these 27 purely-crafted words?
"The Curry 3 was comfortable, but a bit ugly -- even with Stephen trying his best to sell it. People took one look and felt a little green around the gills, so not very many people bought it."
It's one thing to use Silicon Valley-style euphemism. It's another to pour verbal caramel over cow-pat ice cream.
What a contrast, though, with United Airlines' CEO Oscar Muñoz. Even he finally managed real phrases that meant what they said, such as "That's on me. I have to fix that."
Plank, though, wasn't done.
Of the disappointing sales, he said: "This has created an inventory imbalance that we are working through."
An inventory imbalance.
Oh, you mean, too many Curry 3 shoes that no one wants to buy?
Somehow, one can imagine Plank sitting for hours with his fine PR advisors, in an attempt to invent a more mellifluous way to deliver bad news, something that many organizations have tried to foster over the years.
Words such as "retrenchment" and "right-sizing" have been used to talk about old-fashioned firings and layoffs.
Plank, though, is known for straight-speaking. For example: "To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country." This, said of Donald Trump, was a little too straight for Curry's taste.
Perhaps that's why Plank has now lurched to these quasi-niceties culled from corporate PR companies whose one motto is: "Be unctuous and you'll sound like the Pope."
Sometimes, though, being straight can be a relief to people.
They don't have to work out what you mean. They don't have to endure the double-take that makes them momentarily happy, until they confront the dark reality that they don't have a job anymore, or that sales have just disappeared through the cracks in the floorboards.
If you're going to make people walk the plank, it might be best not to talk the Plank.