“Optics” – The Business Buzzword of the Day

The true definition of “Optics” is the scientific study of light and vision. “Optics” is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light. However, a different use of the word optics has been used in politics for many years, meaning “appearance” or “perception”.

Unfortunately, I am hearing this term used more and more frequently as a business buzzword. It’s really sad that the meaning of a simple technical term like “optics” – denoting light, vision or clarity is used to mean the opposite qualities of deception and insincerity.


The appeal of using the word optics is obvious, unlike fuzzy constructs such as “appearances,” it has an aura of scientific precision that lends weight. The word optics is perfectly fine, when used in science or mechanics. However, the word optics should not be used to mean “appearance” through the viewing lens of public perception.

Politicians often say what voters want to hear. Should business leaders do the same thing or are they better off to remain authentic, sticking to their true beliefs?

When business leaders talk about “optics,” instead of reality, red flags should immediately go up. Deception and dishonesty are running rampant practically everywhere you go. Companies that say one thing and do something else risk alienating their customers as well as their staff members.


I believe one of the main reasons that many businesses fail is they’re just not willing to be transparent, clear and honest. People can get away with deceptive business practices and shady dealings for a while. But eventually customers won’t come back and employees will leave because they don’t want to be part of the untruths.

Organizations that are built to deceive are not proud of their missions. They are unwilling or unable to sell their mission on it merits and they resort to deceit because they don’t believe they can appeal to the truth. They recognize that their missions are not in the best interests of their clients, they are embarrassed by the techniques they need to use to get customers to buy, and they think they can only get customers if they pretend to be what they are not.


Being true to yourself and your business and being upfront and honest with your customers relieves anxiety and frees up energy that would normally be consumed by maintaining a facade. That energy boost, stress relief and liberation can have a huge impact on a business as a whole and makes it a real power to be reckoned with.

It is absolutely critical to have both an authentic and transparent business. The level of authenticity, honesty and transparency associated with a corporation impacts the very livelihood of the business and can affect relationships beyond the internal infrastructure of the company.

Transparency and honesty enables sincerity and trust. Trust is the lubricant that enables organizations to function, grow and prosper. Trust enables success.  Lack of transparency causes doubt, introduces fear and destroys trust.


To be successful in business, we all must create an atmosphere of honest and ethical behavior within the workplace. You need to be open. You need to be honest. You need to come from truth and you need to come from integrity. And by all means, stay away from the need to use the word “optics” in your business conversations.

On a personal level, I feel blessed to be a part of a company that is overflowing with people who have made it their mission to build an honest business through hard work and dedication.  At Avatel, we summon the courage, strength, will and steadfastness to speak “our truth” and not be concerned or caught up in what others think or believe about us.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP


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