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Management jargon - what it really means

Why is it that middle management talk in a different language?  I am currently on an all day (yes, all day) conference call with my sales manager and he's come up with an amazing amount of management jargon.

Anyway, in the last three hours he has come out with the following rediculous phrases:

  • We're on a 3 way street here
  • We really need to push the envelope on this one
  • It's a finely balanced situation, weighted heavily toward the customer
  • Think big
  • We need to touch base offline
  • What can you bring to the table?
  • Keep me in the loop
  • We need to get on the same page
  • Lets take a blue-sky approach
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Lets park that offline for a moment
  • By close of play
  • Think outside the box
  • Low hanging fruit

Why can't they just speak in English?  Does it mean they're cleverer than me because they use stupid management phrases that no other person understands?  Do they get paid more for saying "I need that by close of play today" instead of "e-mail it to me by 5pm please"?

And who said that "being assertive" means you get free reign to be as rude as you like to your staff?  My four year old has better manners. And they wonder why they have to "escalate" everything in order to get something done?  Stop "raising the red flag up the flagpole to see which way the wind blows it", and say "please" and "thank-you" a few times.

So, in closing, I've crafted some replies to the above list for your enjoyment..

We're on a 3 way street here. Interesting result from your driving test theory was it?
We really need to push the envelope on this one. Hell, I love envelope pushing. Beats working anyday. I like the padded ones with built in bubble wrap....
It's a finely balanced situation, weighted heavily toward the customer. Probably.
Think big Why? You're gonna send me ten million e-mails on the subject, meaning that even if I wanted to "Think Big", I have to spend so much time "thinking small" that I haven't enough time to "think big".
We need to touch base offline. You're not touching my base OFFLINE or ONLINE!
What can you bring to the table? My sandwiches and a flask of tea?
Keep me in the loop. Only if it's a tight one that prevents you from moving.
We need to get on the same page. We're not even on the same planet.
Lets take a blue sky approach. Don't you know what the English weather is like in November?
360 degree feedback. Typical of this company.... forever going round in circles.
Lets park that offline for a moment. Hope you never get a job with British Rail.
By close of play. So, we're just playing at this are we?
Think outside the box. You're totally out of your box already.
Low hanging fruit. You're the fruit.

Two words: "GCSE English". Go learn.

By:Robbie

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The definition of "colleague" below isn't very clear; this one is better.

"colleague n 1: an associate you work with [syn: {co-worker}, {fellow worker}, {workfellow}]
2: a person who is member of your class or profession; "the surgeon consulted his colleagues"."

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grumpyoldwoman - 7-Nov-12 15:05

anon, I have quite a nice life, thank you very much.

That life gives me the odd five minutes to comment on this site; the purpose of which is to comment on things which annoy us, after all.

What good is language if the meaning of words is changed at random? The definition of "colleague" is "one of a group of people who work together" but it seems to be replacing the word "employee". What good is that?

In the words of management speak "we all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet" or we can't communicate properly with each other.

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grumpyoldwoman - 7-Nov-12 14:58

Following my comment on 11/05/11; another misuse of the word "colleague".

A man from Dixon's was on the radio explaining that his company was prepared to take on staff from Comet in the run up to Christmas. He said that a great many "colleagues" had already applied.

How can they be his colleagues when he works for Dixon's and they work for Comet? They may be his colleagues in the future; or is he moonlighting and working for both companies?

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grumpyoldwoman - 7-Nov-12 11:45

Petra their is nothing wrong with these people they are just commonly known as total c@nts, these people can usually be found either sitting outside Starbucks, in the 1st class section of a train using their laptops or on a Motorway service station paying a tenner for a a vile breakfast.

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Rita Sue and Bob too - 3-Jul-11 23:11

Hi Kenny,

thank you for making it look normal again.

Good luck with the changes to the site.


-1

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Petra - 3-Jul-11 21:30

Hi Petra,

Well spotted, you found the deliberate bug. Hopefully it's gone now and you can post without any issues. If not, please get in touch.

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Kenny (Site Admin) - 3-Jul-11 21:16

Why have the inverted commas and other punctuation marks become gobbleydegook? Is there a new way I should be typing them?

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Petra - 3-Jul-11 19:45

We could not help overhearing two very loud business men in a coffee shop yesterday.

They kept using phrases that equated business ideas with childhood. One was saying things like "we need to bat that ball around the playpen a bit more" and the other, referring to resolving one problem and then being faced with another, said "Well, we got one orphaned child adopted and now we have another to find a home for"

We weren't sure at first if they were actually social workers, but after a while it became clear it was the just the latest management speak.

Is there something wrong with these people?

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Petra - 3-Jul-11 19:43

For want of a better place to put this; something which is annoying me at the moment is that many shops have started referring to the staff as "colleagues". Well, yes, to other members of staff they are, but not to me, the customer!

I saw a notice in a supermarket (can't remember which) a couple of months ago which said something along the lines of "if you need more information on this offer ask a colleague". I thought about asking one of the staff how a colleague of mine (in the construction industry) would know anything about their offer, but suspected that they wouldn't have a clue what I was on about.

Yesterday I went into my local Peacocks and saw that members of staff have started wearing badges with "colleague" on them. Gggrrrrrr!

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grumpyoldwoman - 11-May-11 16:52

I was going to leave a corporate comment but decided to 'run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it' before doing so

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corp fool - 16-Dec-10 15:25

Just came across this one....
"Therefore we have a high priority fast burn activity to produce a design and impact assessment"
what a load of management Hyperbally!!

-18

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Trick - 1-Nov-10 07:56

I suspect that these phrases are used in a half baked attempt to hide their complete incompetence and the fact that their only purpose is to create mindless and time wasting work for people to justify their own position!!
When I read your response to "what can you bring to the table?" I pretty much showered my laptop in coffee in fits of laughter!!

-6

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A wild sheep - 6-Oct-10 00:34

Brett Challenger's comment about "Low hanging fruit" is first class. I can't stop giggling!

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anon - 15-Sep-10 16:24

It's the only way management types with no actual brain can make themselves sound more important, by spouting phrases they hear on American TV. People who use this type of jargon generally have no thought processes of their own and should be exposed as the fraudsters they are. My favourite one is "C'mon guys, it's make or break time" To which, your answer should be "Break time, let's go for a cuppa!"

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anon - 15-Sep-10 16:19

Hi there,

I think your website is very funny. I work for the BBC and I'm working on a new series for BBC Two with Kirsty Young and it's all about the British at work. The fourth episode is looking at the years from 1995 to the current day and we're looking to talk to people who have got stories to tell about these years and the following issues: the onset of management jargon; new technology that can monitor worker productivity or keep them on call to emails and phonecalls; the work / life balance and long hours culture; social networking sites at work and the boss being a 'friend'; inequality of pay in your workplace; the impact of the increase in contract based work; the increase in organisational restructuring and decrease in job security.

If you would like to get in touch with any stories you may have, please contact me at jo.wade@bbc.co.uk

Many thanks,

Jo

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Jo Wade - 27-Jul-10 15:22

grumpy xx

I like the blurb which states that something was made with, for example, "specially selected" fruit. That would be in contrast then to the usual practice of throwing in whatever was lying around on the floor ?

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Kit - 15-Jul-10 20:04

Same goes for marketing messages that make no grammatical sense at all.

For example:

Buy this and that or the other and claim your 'free gift' (aren't all gifts free of charge? Otherwise they wouldn't be gifts would they!).

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Grumpy xx - 15-Jul-10 19:57

What the f*ing eck are you lot jabbering on about?

+4

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Rider of the Apocalypse - 12-May-10 13:13

out of the box .... one must think reflective in his actual job(s), that is the way which will support a manager always to look around the dynamics of the environment

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Umar Msc.Acc&Finance , man - 12-May-10 13:03

"Close of play is a much simpler way to say .......before the end of your working shift or before cut off whichever is sooner!!.

360 degree feedback is .............. I would like feedback from your subordinates, colleagues, internal and external customers and superiors.

Offline is used during conference calls or webex conferences as .......... I will talk to you about this more after the conference call/webex has finished. "

Why are these phrases 'simpler' when they require explanation? They are idiotic, pompous, confusing, timewasting, self-important verbiage. I have banned this type of idiotspeak in the companies I work for. I return memos and emails which contain such drivel and when people use these terms in meetings I stop them and ask them what they mean.

Now that's thinking outside the box .........!

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MikeP - 4-May-10 19:50

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