Annoying BizSpeak (Managerial Jargon)

Those catchphrases so beloved of time-management seminar leaders - do they annoy you as much as they do me?

OK, so I touched on ‘Learning Curve’ in GQ, but here are a few more

Let me just bounce this off you
Let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
Can we touch base next week?
Lets do lunch sometime
Let’s see if this checks all the right boxes
Be here now
Less is more
When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME
you get the idea…

Let’s see your nominations for the ‘BizSpeak phrase most likely to lead to strangulation’ award.

“Mum’s the Word!!” (on our badges, with a background chrysanthemum, to remind us not to discuss patient cases in public places. Good idea, idiot catchphrase.

At the end of the day (meaning the end of the process)…
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Think outside of the box (my boss stills says this).
When the rubber hits the road

There are so many more. Of course with one worker who is not a native speaker, we are able to get away with saying things like…

When the baby hits the road…
Think outside of the bathwater…
We amuse ourselves with this. I get away with it far less often, being one of the native speakers.

Some from my boss:

“Let’s troubleshoot this/I’d like you to troubleshoot this.”

(Troubleshoot? Troubleshoot?! I don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about, how the hell am I supposed to figure out what’s wrong with it?!)

“We’ll have to crash on this.”

(Meaning, ignore everything else and concentrate on this one project that I, Boss Lady, have ignored for days, nay, weeks only now it’s due tomorrow, and when I say “we” I mean “you, Rose.”)

This isn’t specifically managerial, but the next time I hear someone talking about synergies I’m gonna pop a vein. And it won’t be mine.

The next time I hear the word “empowered”, I’m going to provide some punctuation. (the most inappropriate noise I am able to produce at the time.)

Rosebud - I hate when they invent verbs (although troubleshoot may actually be one, it’s a bad one nonetheless.)

I knew an exec who used task as a verb.

“I tasked that to Smithers.”

Multi-tasker = person being asked to do more than they should

My favorite managerial lie (which I’ve now heard at all three of the companies I’ve worked for since college):

“Although we’re eliminating (X’s) position, that is no reflection upon your job performance. We think you are doing a great job. We couldn’t be happier with you.”

Well … you just increased my and the rest of the staff’s work load, because we now have to pick up the work from the position that was eliminated. So I guess you expect me to do more, without A. saying so, and B. any kind of additional compensation.

I can typically live with that, but just quit blowing smoke up my arse, you know?

But no one ever does!
– Harvey Danger :smiley:

From the squares of “Bullshit Bingo”, a bit of e-mail lore someone sent me months ago:
[li]Synergy [/li][li]Strategic Fit [/li][li]Gap Analysis [/li][li]Best Practice [/li][li]Bottom Line[/li][li]Revisit [/li][li]Bandwidth [/li][li]Hardball [/li][li]Out of the Loop [/li][li]Benchmark[/li][li]Value-Added [/li][li]Proactive [/li][li]Win-Win [/li][li]Think Outside the Box [/li][li]Fast Track[/li][li]Result-Driven [/li][li]Empower [or] Empowerment [/li][li]Knowledge Base [/li][li]Total Quality [or]Quality Driven [/li][li]Touch Base[/li][li]Mindset [/li][li]Client Focus[ed] [/li][li]Ball Park [/li][li]Game Plan [/li][li]Leverage[/li][/ul]

The idea being the same as Bingo – you listen during a meeting or conference call, and each time you hear one of those words or phrases you cover that square. When you have five in a row horizontally, vertically, or sideways, you shout “Bingo!”. Might get you fired, but then would that be a bad thing?

I’d also add: “Focusing on the problem and not on the solution”, “Net-net”, “resource” (as a synonym for “person” or “employee”), and “solution provider” or “we provide solutions” (though those are so ubiquitous by now that resistance is futile – all your solution are belong to us).

A few years ago my company changed its motto to “We Answer With Solutions.”

Aside from the fact that this is a typically vacuous, Dilbertesque motto, what’s really, really hilarious about it is that we don’t answer with solutions at all! We’re a standards certification organization. We CAN’T provide a solution for you, for anything. We do inspection, testing and auditing. To give our customers solutions - e.g. to consult them, or help them do their work - is a strict no-no, a conflict of interest, because you cannot objectively audit work you’ve had a part in. If we started answering with solutions we’d be deregistered by every national standards body in the world.

So not only did our idiot management team come up with a stupid motto, they came up with a stupid motto that contradicts what we actually do, applying the idiot “solution provider” cliche to the one kind of company that that cliche does NOT apply to.

Back when I worked in a hospital, they were changing what they used on circumcision clamps because of an unfortunate incident involving a metal clamp and a cauterizing electrode.

So my boss there declared that, because of the event, they were taking a “proactive” route and changing the clamps to a non-conductive type. She was an English major, by the way.

I pointed out that, if they were doing this because of the event, then it was “REactive”, not “PROactive” and she told me to be quiet, which happened often.

I once worked for a manager who used phrases like this:

“That will negatively impact the bottom line of the Western Region unless we leverage our capabilities by empowering Bill and his group to take a proactive stance in fast-tracking the project…”

He’d go on like this for quite a while, but you get the idea. Nobody was ever sure exactly what he was saying, which may have been his way of seeming important while not actually contributing anything useful.

Using “task” as a verb is another one that bugs me. “We’ve tasked Bill and Sue to develop…” Along the same lines, using “headquarters” as a verb is gaining use, but it still sounds jarring: “XYZ Company? Yes, they headquarter in Toronto.”

And let’s not forget such silly euphemisms as “restructure,” “downsize,” and “reverse hiring.” C’mon, managers; don’t try to make it sound nicer than it is. We all know what these terms really mean.

All these are right on. Another I’d like to add “going forward”

As in: “Going forward, we’'l have to focus on blah blah blah.”

To make it worse, I am currently in school getting my MBA. What is the title of just about everyone’s final prresentation slide?

“Going Forward”
Ugh. Get a new phrase please!

AAARRRGH…“Going forward” was the first one that came to mind for me–jk1245 you beat me to it. That one drives me crazy, yeah, like we are going to actually “go backward”.

I also hear these very frequently:

“We need an Apples to Apples comparison” or
“That’s like comparing Apples to Oranges” (I’ve always wondered: Why apples and oranges? Why not bananas and grapes?)

“Let’s get on the same page”

“Get your game plan together”

I’m sure I even say some of them at one time or another.

In the not so distant heyday of political correctness, the Long Island power company (LILCO), who recently “restructured” and were renamed to protect the guilty, began to use the following terms for management and employees, repectively:

group contributors
individual contributors

THANK GOD! this never caught on.

My boss uses “Take Ownership” too much.

“I want you to take ownership of this project.”

Does that mean I can sell it and keep the cash?

One word: “deliverables”.

A former boss once introduced me to a client by saying “This is El_Kabong. He was restructured a while back but now he’s back with us.” BTW, he was the guy who was responsible for “restructuring” me. I just about decked his sorry ass.

And my current boss (same outfit) seems to have an inordinate fondness for the phrase “no problems, only solutions”.

The new one that bugs me is ping. Fine for network testing, but I don’t want to “ping Bob on that issue” or “keep pinging Mary until she gives us that data”.

My personal pet peeves are real words, misused. Two examples that people here butcher all the time:

transition, used as a verb. We are transitioning to a new platform.

actionable (which actually means: subject to or affording ground for an action or suit at law) to mean something which can be done. I guess that doable or achievable don’t sound fancy enough.

We also have a fun “Lake Woebeggon” effect, where we only hire the best, so of course everybody is above average. Until it is time for ratings, raise and promotions, then standard curves applied. :rolleyes:

“Going forward”
“Helicopter thinking”
“Let’s give this idea some legs and see how far it runs”