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Thomson Reuters oops moment over its corporate values

Thomson Reuters' new set of corporate values - trust, partnership, innovation and performance - are all over the Internet, but for the wrong reason.

The company was ridiculed for a diagram (photo) that appeared to disparage the corporation’s work ethos.

“Venn will you learn? Firm’s attempt at overlapping diagram is an epic fail” was the headline on an item on the website of London daily newspaper Metro after the diagram was posted on Twitter with the comment: “I think you really need to reconsider your Venn diagram here.”

A Venn diagram shows the relationship between two different sets of ideas through overlapping.

“For some reason Thomson Reuters produced a diagram that suggested the company’s values had very little to do with ‘trust, partnership, innovation and performance,’” wrote Twitter user John Russell.

The Washington Post weighed in with this comment: "Despite evidence that America is losing its innovative edge, companies love calling themselves innovative. It's the new and inaccurate 'We're No. 1!'" The Post pointed out "recent ad campaigns and chest-puffed-out declarations" from other companies and added: "Yet in the tweet above, we have something entirely different. In what looks like a failed Venn diagram, Thomson Reuters suggests that innovation is almost completely absent from its values. (And it doesn't care much for trust, partnership or performance.)"

The values were announced by Thomson Reuters chief executive James Smith earlier this year following the group’s annual senior leadership conference. Top executives focussed on “our company’s transformation and the strategic priorities of reaffirming our purpose in the world, embracing the values that unite us as an enterprise, and understanding the way our culture must evolve in order to inspire employees, delight customers and grow revenues,” Smith said. He added: “I believe these values express who we truly are when we are at our best.”

Other comments on Twitter in response to the tweet included the following:

  • Wonderful, refreshingly honest Venn diagram from Reuters.
  • LOVE this from @Reuters. I don't *think* they meant it to be interpreted as a Venn diagram
  • Not much overlap there!
  • Oh dear. It looks like someone from Thomson Reuters isn't familiar with the concept of a Venn diagram! 
  • And the award for worst use of a Venn Diagram goes to Thomson Reuters 
  • Brilliant. Reuters’ accidental Venn diagram
  • Either #reuters is refreshingly honest or illustrator has no clue what set theory is or how to do Venn Diagram
  • Accidental Venn Diagram from Reuters is fairly hilarious
  • Talk about an 'OOOOPS' moment during the presentation. Who made that Venn Diagram? Give that man a raise
  • I’ve got to salute Reuters for being brutally honest in this Venn diagram.

Thomson Reuters has not yet commented on the diagram - or the tweet. ■