In our company, there are several values to respect, all the employees must have these values and practice them, on the other hand the company too has its principles and qualities, one of these qualities is called "Mastering the elements". I did not get much what this quality mean, can someone please make it clear?

  • Can you quote the larger context of principles and quantities where you found this? I suspect the next word is of, or the statement is otherwise qualified. – Dan Bron Aug 24 '17 at 9:12
  • There is no next word, it is as i quote it, it is a hole sentence, preciselly it is used in powerpoint template of the company – Mourad Aug 24 '17 at 9:33
  • Well, I imagine then it's a bit of puffery. Unqualified like that, it's old-fashioned and disused in current English, but "mastering the elements" meant "asserting control or dominance over nature". One would have to "master the elements" to be a good sailor for example, lest he lose a battle with the winds or seas. It might make sense if your company in some sense "does battle with" nature, as a shipping company or mining company? Otherwise I'd expect to to be qualified with what kind of elements are to be mastered, as in page 6 of The Strategic Leader's Roadmap. – Dan Bron Aug 24 '17 at 9:45
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    I voted to close. This is an example of controlled vocabulary - your company has taken a phrase and given it a specific meaning within the company culture. It only needs to be loosely related to the dictionary meaning. So while we would be able to parrot some of the common uses of that phrase, only somebody inside your company can tell you what it means when used within the company. It would even be dangerous for you to assume they mean the dictionary definition. So we cannot answer your question. – rumtscho Aug 24 '17 at 15:03
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    "Mastering the elements" means giving communion without fumbling. "Mastering the elements" means memorizing the Periodic Table. "Mastering the elements" means climbing Everest in a snowstorm. "Mastering the elements" means learning the basics of English syntax. – Hot Licks Aug 24 '17 at 15:48

Mastering the elements

The usage is very figurative (extended even further by using it as a form of business babble), so I can't really point to a dictionary definition of the words themselves.

In this context, "the elements" refers to "everything that factors into the whole".

Imagine if I wanted to become a pastry chef. I would have to learn many skills:

  • Making the batter.
  • Baking the cake.
  • Decorating the cake.

Let's assume that these are the only skills needed, for the sake of simplicity. "The elements" would refer to these three skills.

Now, if I wanted to become a renowned pastry chef, I would have to make amazing cakes that are superior to others' cakes. I would have to become exceptionally skilled in all three skills to achieve this.

Therefore, I would practice and try to master the elements, so my result (the cake, the combination of all the skills) will be superior.

So if I had to rephrase

Mastering the elements.

I would say

Being the best at every skill that positively influences the quality of our end product.

It doesn't sound as catchy, but it conveys the same message.

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  • This is actually a good definition , why the down vote? – Mourad Aug 24 '17 at 14:51
  • @Mourad: I'm not sure. I don't want to complain about it, but the downvote came mere seconds after I posted the answer, so I suspect it's not related to the content of my answer. – Flater Aug 24 '17 at 14:54

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