Pinker’s own advice to manage this bias is to choose words more carefullyand test out messaging. The problems with solutions like these are two-fold. The first is that messaging can only work if you know who the intended audience for a message is. In large organizations this is simply not going to be possible since this might not be decided until later. Moreover, the root of this bias is that people are for the most part unaware that they are being unclear, so even if they tried choosing words more carefully, they could still continue to be totally opaque.
While no silver bullet for this problem exists, a technological solution that organizations increasingly rely on is the workflow. As Wikipedia defines it:
A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information.
To put it simply, a workflow is a way of formalizing instructions and rules to govern how the workplace functions, which allocates roles, rights, and responsibilities to the various people involved in a project. This doesn’t make people communicate better, but it brings about a situation where they don’t have to. Now, instructions won’t have to be interpreted from a few cryptic words, since they will be embedded within the system itself. This also means that people don’t have to spend time and attention trying to remember what the latest set of instructions are — they can just mechanically submit and let the pre-set instructions take over. And the use of automatically assigned templates can be used to make clear that there are expectations to be met and so certain kinds of reports — Jacobs’ three word ones, for example — will simply not do.
And the best part is that with sophisticated workflow tools, the sheer range of options available ensures that the chosen workflow doesn’t have to be any more constricting than necessary. Human behavior is never going to be as rational or as clear as we would like, but that is no reason not to seek ways to optimize and streamline things as much as possible.