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

72 Responses

  1. grumpyoldwoman 07/11/2012 / 3:05 pm

    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"."

  2. grumpyoldwoman 07/11/2012 / 2:58 pm

    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.

  3. grumpyoldwoman 07/11/2012 / 11:45 am

    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?

  4. Rita Sue and Bob too 03/07/2011 / 11:11 pm

    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.

  5. Petra 03/07/2011 / 9:30 pm

    Hi Kenny,

    thank you for making it look normal again.

    Good luck with the changes to the site.

  6. Kenny (Site Admin) 03/07/2011 / 9:16 pm

    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.

  7. Petra 03/07/2011 / 7:45 pm

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

  8. Petra 03/07/2011 / 7:43 pm

    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?

  9. grumpyoldwoman 11/05/2011 / 4:52 pm

    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!

  10. corp fool 16/12/2010 / 3:25 pm

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

  11. Trick 01/11/2010 / 7:56 am

    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!!

  12. A wild sheep 06/10/2010 / 12:34 am

    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!!

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