I went to an early morning meeting once with the new owners of the company I was working for. It was not a pleasant prospect, despite the coffee, croissants and muffins shipped in to make themeeting more palatable. The subject of discussion was redundancies or ‘downsizing’. Or, as I preferred to call it, ‘telling people they no longer have a job because someone fucked up somewhere.’ This was not taken well.
Somewhere in the sphere of work, business and management, language became stupid. Phrases have been created to avert one’s gaze from the horror of a situation and to disguise the reality, or to make a dull and boring situation sound more positive. The Apprentice is full of shit like this.
“I’d like to take the ball and run with this idea in this module as I’ve had significant success over the years at enhancing the customer experience.”
Roughly translated: ‘Oh PLEASE let me do this one. In my usual job I’m overlooked at everything and I used to work in customer service.’
Management bollocks like “let’s go forward with this”, “hope we’re singing from the same hymn sheet/reading from the same page” make my skin crawl and have no place in the work environment, unless you fully intend to treat your staff like idiots or children. Problems are no longer problems but challenges, even when they ARE massive problems. People are incentivizing stakeholders, pre-planning from the get-go, touching base offline, going forward with a holistic, cradle-to-grave approach, employing 360-degree thinking to prevent the grass from growing too long on ideas. And, if you’ve not given 110%, not been drilling ideas down, not granulising, not been living the values, then you’re at risk of wrongsiding the demographic and then, at the end of the day, you may be part of the workforce reduction. I’m not saying you’re fired, I’m just saying you no longer work here.
Actually. I may have stumbled across something. Perhaps these terms COULD be best used for dealing with children? Bear with me here, I think I’m having an ideas shower.
I could use some of these phrases in my job as a SAHD. Perhaps I should tell my children that we’re going to approach all tasks with a strict methodology, meaning we’re going to do it my way and that’s that. When they ask me for another biscuit I should respond with “I’m not saying no, but I’m certainly not saying yes.” which essentially means ‘No chance matey.’ When it comes tome asking them to tidy up the toys and they say no, I’ll ask them to display some flexibility, meaning they’ll have to do it whether they like it or not.
I’m liking this. I’m liking this approach. Perhaps this can make me SAHD 2.0. Let me run it up the flagpole and see how it…
No. It’s a shit idea.
Language can be so beautifully, sublime, simple and expressive. Why cock it up with shit like this?
If Shakespere’s Julius Caesar was set in middle management in 2012 the line, “Friends Romans, Countrymen…” could go something like;
“Stakeholders, we need an idea shower. Caesar must be part of the workplace reduction, and is therefore excluded from this quarters performance-related, 360 degree, appraisals”
Does anyone have any corking examples of management speak? My door is open on this one, so why not cascade your ideas into my comments section.
Thanks for reading.
First published on April 30th, 2012.