To the Express(ive)ly Challenged

Dear Unspecified-designation Middle Manager with an MBA,

This post is dedicated to you. I hope you’re up for some object-oriented knowledge transfermy two cents on the phrases you overuse and abuse. I have no doubt that you have the bandwidth to process it.

There was a time your ludicrous flowery language brightened my day. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much Jargon Lotto (nee Buzzword Bingo) one can enjoy. Needless to say, this calls for a paradigm shift. Going forward, we need an action plan to revisit these phrases and downsize them.

From your side, you will have to be a bit proactive and push the envelope. Perhaps you should start thinking outside the box. But on second thoughts – if you want to be original, the best practice is to just stay put and think inside the box. Every other manager, his team and their mothers-in-law are busy thinking outside it.

Let me help you understand – originality is no rocket science. For that matter, even rocket science is not really rocket science – it’s aerospace engineering. But more on that another day. At this point, we need to remain goal-oriented and result-focused. For now, I’m even willing to pretend the two are not redundant.

If you leverage your skill-set smartly, you could actually come up with a grade-A synergy. And why, if we ever find ourselves on the same page, you could even explain to me what the hell that means.

While we are at it, there’s another thing we need to transition into – we need to stop verbing nouns. Especially nouns which don’t exist. For instance, you do not incent people. You pay them. It’s extremely annoying. Let me translation that for you – it really annoyances me.

You could use any method you deem best. You could parachute in with fellow managers, do some blue sky thinking, or even resort to old-fashioned brainstorming. Be informed that the lattermost might require a brain. I do not recommend thought showers, however. It might set our readers thinking on lines that have nothing to do with the real sense of the term. Too late, looks like they already are.

I’m certain you have noticed by now how ridiculous I’ve been sounding. Well, that’s how you sound 24/7. Don’t think any more. Just go ahead and pull the trigger. Else I will. The aftermath could be discussed during post-mortem.

We’ll touch base soon for a performance measurement. Don’t ping me, I’ll ping you. If you have anything to say about this, I’ll take it offline.

Edited 031609

81 responses to “To the Express(ive)ly Challenged

  1. Just come back, g. I know you can read this :P. You are missed, big-time. (See I even hyphenated big-time just for you. I wouldn’t have done it for anybody else ;) )


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  4. This is a gem! As someone who recently quit the corporate world, I can appreciate not having to hear these day in and out..

  5. In saying ‘verbing nouns’, you effectively verbed a noun. Brilliance.

  6. ROTFL I nearly fell of my chair laughing at this one! My manager really keeps talking this kind of bullshit. I hope he reads this, lol! Very witty posts, esp. the Indian English one too! Will keep coming to check.

  7. unfair, jargon’s the only thing we pick up in bschools after investing a fortune, if we dont even use that than how are we any different from school dropouts ?

    • From a 30,000 feet view, it might look like you two are different. But don’t miss the forest for the trees because of that. -g

  8. Lol! Laughed like crazy while reading this. :D
    “on your plate”, “expedite”,”ballpark estimate” are a few ones you forgot. Especially “expedite”. I fail to understand how just mumble bumble about tasks can actually expedite the work. Anyway, sigh!

    Nice blog. :)
    (From a G to a g. :P )

  9. Superb post! Very very well written…..hats off!!! You must be hearing a lot of this from you manager to be so well-versed in it :) Really brilliant!


  10. Your post has explored the synergies of collaborative bs generation resulting in a high exit multiple for people stopping buy. Keeping in perspective India’s demographic potential and relatively low penetration of the internet and consequently blog hopping public, we feel this is the first of the several stops we will be making by this blog. We are bullish on our sentiments and do not forsee a reversal of opinion on the counter anytime soon. We recommend a buy.

    The first of my many stops.

    • Sir, you either need to be more proactive driving end-to-end synergies, or table that comment till we’re on the same page and I decrypt what’s out there. I shall, however, encourage those multiple stops on the blog :-| Thanks for stopping buy by ;) -g

  11. Loved the post G!
    You are an awesome writer..

    I have just been 2 years into the corporate world. Now i really hav 2 restrain myself from laughing out loud in my meetings to come!

    How is that nobody mentioned …Lets KIV(keep in view) and ‘park’ this for now.

  12. Ah. You learn something new everyday. Ok, the next time anyone mentions L10n, I’m going to innocently ask if they’re referring to a Laundrywoman :P Thanks for letting me know :)) -g

  13. Nice. On the subject of Jargon, came across this one recently:

    ‘L10n’ (thats L, ‘Ten’, n) for ‘Localization’.

    Certainly broke the Clutter in my so-rapidly-changing-thats-its-as-good-as-unspecified designation, middle manager with an MBA, brain.

  14. Ah. Didn’t see this till now. Brilliant :) I had done something similar with the Ramayana a while back –

    • Thank you :) Couldn’t see the Ramayana bit on your post. Just uh, reverted back to you on that one. Do let me know if there’s some WP thing I need to see it; I’d be happy to “do the needful”.

  15. Awesome post. Felt it was necessary to comment on the same. :)

  16. Nice one. Came across the post through Ramesh’s Tweet. :)

    Had written something similar earlier – my boss’s version of Little Red Riding Hood. Funny how people who can’t express resort to cliche-crutches. Oh, and you forgot this one –
    Sent from my Blackberry

  17. Super Post. Have you seen this George Carlin video on the modern man –

    • Thank you, Ramesh :) That video is uproarious; heck the guy was a riot! I’d say I miss him, but he hogs way too much of my bookmark space. -g

  18. Hi, landed on this page from NeoIndian. I don’t know how to congratulate you on this stellar post. It is hilarious, satirical, complete (as in – there’s hardly any mgmt jargon which you haven’t trashed in this post ;) and most of all – its TRUE!

    I have been thinking of writing something similar for a long time now .. but you have done my job easier for me. All I have to do now is – write a post and link to here – or even better – designate this post as “Must-read posts of the week” over at my blog :).

    And oh .. welcome to my feed-reader BTW!

    • Thanks so much for your above-board comment, Kiran :) Yes, please do write the post and let me know when you strike that action item off the list ;) Would love to read what you have. Welcome to my space! -g

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  21. ha ha! hilarious! loved reading it. going forward to explore the rest of the blog now.

    Thanks, n :) (Random letter – liked it better than “tgip”. Don’t let it bother you ;) ) -g

  22. Awesome! Simply overwhelmed!

    You have reused the corporate knowledge assets leveraging them to everyone’s advantage, resulting in end-to-end optimization of your blog post.

    I’m glad I touched base with you, and am happy that we’re on the same page. Keep up the good work! I look forward to working with you and am sure our synergy will lead to cost-effective best practices that achieve a six-sigma quality output.

    Thank you! And with that knock-down comment you have completely convinced me you could do this for a living. Wait – do you? :P I would’ve had a bingo on my card by now had it not been for that six-sigma thing you talk about! :-\ -g

  23. Loved this one. My first time here. This is a gem. :)

    Thank you, Laksh! And welcome here :) -g

  24. Came here thru’ TwistedDNA.
    TBH, I did not understand half of your post. But, somehow, I was laughing all the way through.
    Was that the desired effect? I know it’s an old post and everything. But, awesome, lady!

    Funny, you could say I landed here through TD too :-| If it makes you feel better, I don’t understand anything in this post – that’s precisely what inspired it ;) Thanks for stopping by; glad you got some laughs! -g

  25. g!
    why have you been hiding this treasure trove from us? Your blog is fantastic (like I would expect anything less from you :)).
    Anyways, I was reading a paper on “coordination” yesterday for one of my classes and this definition cracked me up: “Faraj and Xiao (2006) define coordination as a temporally unfolding and contextualized process of input regulation and interaction articulation to realize a collective performance.”

    and this is what I endure…

    Ditty! Whatay surprise, and thanks :)
    LOL, you have no idea what unfolding and contextualized processing it took on my part for the regulation of that input! If that’s what you endure in class you have my sympathy – but then again, I’ve known you to endure worse ;) (I hope ‘Worse’ isn’t reading this :-|)
    So glad you dropped by :) -g

  26. Wonderful post. I recently wrote about how I despise faddish phrases — linguistic pop fashion I call it — and how people who try to appear cool by using such phrases are demonstrating just how uncool they are.

    Anyway, please continue thinking outside the box and keeping it real. I’ll give a shout out to all my peeps about your monster sick blog.

    Thanks, DW :) I’m glad we’re on the same page here ;) I’d love to read that post; will do so soon. -g

  27. PS:
    4F – Fair, fat, female and forty
    4H – (US) Haemophiliac, Hispanic, Homosexual, Heroin addict
    5-H-1-T – polite medical term for shit
    CRI – Cranial rectal inversion (in other words, head up one’s arse)
    Fubar of course is a war term for f***ed up beyond all recognition. :-/

    All jargon is dense with meaning; people just forget the generous doses of irony that the jargon must be served with.

    I’ve known FUBAR and 5-H-I-T. ROFL@the rest; those are new to me! :) -g

  28. Isn’t this how any profession’s jargon sounds to the outsiders? Apparently doctors in the UK and the USA use the following terms – 4F, 4H (US) and 5-H-1-T – to describe patients. Any ideas? What about Fubar, or CRI?

    These are terms non-medics often use too mainly because they are, er, so pregnant with meaning. :-)

    True. Except, management jargon sounds like that even to the insiders ;) Besides, the ones you mentioned sound either technically specific, or a convenient code, rather than redundant, pompous expressions to er…leverage the importance of one’s position. What I’m saying is, there does seem to be a reason to justify their existence – be it to avoid ruffling feathers, or abbreviating tedious terms for convenience. But then I speak for myself. Lol@ pregnant with meaning :) -g

  29. Very funny post. “Thought showers” was a new one for me, but I’ve heard the rest. . Paradigm shift is the most annoying one. Always want to smack that guy on the side of the head.

    Thanks, Alan. It’s interesting only the aspiring smackers have commented on this one – are those smackees even listening? ;) -g

  30. My first visit to your site.
    Huff…Puff!! The brain’s jammed after the heavy weight jargon attack!! :D ;)
    Loved your seriously funny stuff..
    Am adding you to my bloglist

    Hehe, yeah I get a brain-freeze if I hear even one of these :D Thanks so much, SGD! :) -g

  31. About time somebody came up with this.
    ‘Synergy’ is really the one that riles me up. does anyone really know wtf it means? ;)

    Thanks, Anna. Lol, clue me in if you ever find out – in the meantime, this might come in handy ;) -g

  32. Chirag Chamoli

    Dude, this is my office ;) and we should go in to details. Jargons are the worst way to communicate, and unfortunately some corporate think ability to speak in jargon is better than, clarity of thoughts :)

    Scott Adams himself wrote that “Pointy-Haired Boss not sadistic, just uncaring.”

    ROFL@Dilbert. Good one! :D -g

  33. Hi Gauri, Came here via ultra violet. Amazing post.

    I think my manager must have taken training from the same school. Although he really uses substandard english, but never misses to throw in some of these words. And we are left wondering now where did he learn that from…
    BTW I once received a forward on how to stay alert in boring meetings. It said, draw vertical and horizontal lines on a paper to form squares and fill each square with one of these words.Each member select his own word and everytime someone uses it check it off, like playing housie. In the end tally each others sheets are declare the winner. :-)

    You write really well. You are on my blogroll now. :-)

    Thank you! :) The game you mention above – people apparently play it all the time; it’s called Buzzword Bingo. But now even that has become so tiresome. Check the link in my response to Dinesh above. -g

  34. ok, my mind is just reeling with all the new terminology I learned here!!

    But, really like your blog and am adding you to my bloglist!
    Do visit when you have time!

    That makes the two of us :) Thought I’d tell them like it is before they set anything else reeling. Thanks so much, Roshni – I’ll stop by shortly. -g

  35. I don’t have any issues and challenges with what you have said.
    Believe me, I know what you are talking about. I am sick and tired of it. I am afraid that one day I am going to laugh out loud in a meeting OR mouth a huge wide yawn. And that, would be the end of my career.

    That would be the day! Go ahead, laugh out loud in a meeting – you could tell them you were transitioning modes into testing value-added impact on synergistic metrics. With that kind of cover-up explanation, you’re sure to be promoted rather than fired. Win-win ;) -g

  36. (Via DesiPundit)
    This was ‘Cliche’, but ‘at the end of the day’, it was brilliant too!
    From a P&G ‘standpoint’, I could ‘connect’ with you on a bunch of jargons, special from this company’s ‘Point of View’.

    Let’s ‘touch base’ on that next week :)

    Hehe, this is where the rubber hits the road, eh? Glad we have a synergistic outlook :D Thanks for your comment, Arvind! -g

  37. My earlier comment may get into spam, ‘coz it contains a link. I don’t have any skin in the game……

    Let me warren you, that’s what happens when you try to buffet your way around. -g

  38. I see the point, from where I sit. Though you have missed the concept of ideating ballpark mandates, especially parking mission critical deliverables and morph systematic experiences to reconceptualize frictionless schemas, we can still do a page turn on a concall over the weekend , where i can buy you lunches.

    The goal here is simple: We’re going to revolutionize processes and systems that aren’t working and revolutionize them so you get the network you need.

    For all PAPITAs the only remedy is KITA and you can do it as a pro-


    Hahaha, you are a pro at this! Or does it come naturally? :P LOL@the website -g

  39. ROFLMAO..awesome..I guess my bandwidth of jargons has been upsized (if it exists) by your brainstroming :)

    Thank you, Rahul. Glad the value-added piece of junk has impacted your vision. I see it as a win-win-win ;) -g

  40. Its ‘Awesome’… ‘Keep Up the good work’. I have some ‘pointers’… blah blah … :)

    Hehe…that’s quite a performance review you’re championing ;) Welcome here, Kumaresan. And hey, thanks for tweeting the link! :) -g

  41. Very funny! :P

    :D -g

  42. From a 30,000 feet perspective, we need to right-size our use of jargon in this negative growth environment. Once we get your buy in, we will circle around to gaining mindshare with the other stakeholders and get them to stop drinking the kool-aid.

    Rather than trying to boil the ocean, lets get the low-hanging fruit first. Then, later we can drill-down and solve the issue end-to-end.

    I was wondering how nobody mentioned the 10k foot / helicopter view yet :) What ever happened to the good old bird’s eye – the dangler notwithstanding? You can’t sound so smoothly incoherent without being one of them – there, g knows who neo really is, now :P Glad neo stopped by ;) -g

  43. I came here via Desipundit.

    Few months back a list of most annoying phrases was list. At the end of day, rocket science, and many others had graced the list.

    Brat that I am, I did email the list to a group of managers. I thought that was subtle and would work. Naah, they still use this jargon undeterred. As they would say, waste of effort :P

    Welcome here, Poonam! Haha, that’s some spunk, mailing it to them – maybe it didn’t work because it was subtle? You try talking to these guys in their own language, they think you’re one of them – that’s worse! :D Thanks so much for stopping by :) -g

  44. Bravo!

    Whenever i am offline, i think out of the box 24/7 (well, more like 15/6) why rocket science? Why not neurosurgery?

    Maybe it’s the five syllables?

    Thanks, AD! I know, why not neurosurgery (did I spell that right?!)? And for that matter why not “peeling a hard boiled egg in one go”? That’s even harder than rocket science – I imagine :) -g

  45. Ok…I knew about ‘PITA’ :)
    PAPITA seems to have a nice ‘ripe’ feel about it. :D

    Aha! There needs to be an original twist, always – n’est-ce pas? :) -g

  46. i hate the phrase “no issues”!! gets right on my nerves !

    Yeah? Oh I have no issues with that one ;) Thanks for stopping by! -g

  47. g,
    Install this.

    LOL. I anticipate loads of fun already! Thanks :D -g

  48. Hilarious stuff! You have put pretty much all those words that I hear during my performance review. Somehow my mind doesn’t focus on the regular words – is, was but all those technically managerially hyperbole hit me in the head and stay stuck for a long time. I had no idea what to do with those words, I am glad you figured out what to do with those – write a blog post :)

    Congrats for hitting Desipundit!

    Thanks, Dinesh! Now my confusion is, which words are really “regular”. What do you mean you didn’t know what to do with those words? Here, print this out! -g

  49. Well, to change a few words here and there ( call it the madras bashai of jargons ). Core Campetencies, Saftware, In the loop, Thaght showers, I ll take it affline.

    I’m happy you took Wonership. I shall remember this going faarward. And welcome to 42 :) -g

  50. rofl :) absolutely hilarious

    Thanks, Asif :) Glad you liked it! -g

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  52. g,
    Guess, we need to bounce ideas off at each other on this.
    PS:There was a software to find bullshit lingos in a doc file.Not sure where to get that from now.Me thinks, it was from Bain & Co.

    Deal that up! You’re kidding me, right?! Gosh, people do have a lot of time on their hands! -g

  53. Ah bless you. Another one who hates em. and now i shall proceed to blog pimp ( which i hate doing *self righteous and prim face right here* – ahem, well maybe not) and ping you with my post and then what say we do some thought storms and brain showers?

    Read it, that was really funny! And girl, I can tell – you will rub elbows with these guys! :D -g

  54. What we need is a holistic approach… :D

    Holistic Cow! Totally missed that one, darn! ;) -g

  55. Khara saangoo ? itki sagli badbad karaila special manoos kashala ? Padar Khochoon/Pant war adjust karoon kamala laga patkan….. madhe madhe coffee chalel….
    (maybe 10 years from now, some guy at Wharton will call this Simplified Communication Action Network(SCAN), present a paper at Kellogg, and guys in outsourced places will blindly follow…..
    If they had only listened to my grandmother ….)

    Hahaha, that’s hilarious! Tari kopryat konitari badbad karnara ubhach asel – tyanchya pasun sutka nahi ;) I’m so glad you dropped by; khoop bara vaatla! -g

  56. Ma’am,
    I realise on hindsight that my choice of words could have been improved upon as I do not champion this kind of communication, as it is not incentivized. Put it down to the slippery slope of language used in user-centric media like the internet that lack the synergies of one-on-one communication forms (oh, dear! There go I!).
    In light of the above, and to avoid further blue-on-blue incidents, please accept my resignation with immediate effect.

    Like they say, hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to lose the golden thread of connectivity. Unfortunately, I cannot help with matters of resignation – please see the manager :D -g

  57. Hahaha.

    A newly joined manager emailed his staff, asking them to keep him apprised and updated on all matters. Unfortunately, his keyboard had a few obstinate keys, including that for the letter ‘P’. S0 his email read like this:
    “Guys, I’d love to be in the loo everytime. Shall make the right noises at the right moment.”
    Business jargon is sometimes a real PAPITA (perpetually annoying pain in the ass…ignment!)

    ROFL, that’s hilarious! Did you come up with PAPITA or is it more or less ‘official’?! -g

  58. So who pinged and when? :)

    BTW where is Amway Part 2?

    Sshh…! No pings yet, probably not ever ;) Amway Part 2 – it’s continued in the same post, Solilo – just titled it as Part 2 midway; didn’t really make it a separate post. As if that wasn’t excruciatingly long already! -g

  59. we should probably set up a multi party gensys teleconference to thrash out this matter after sync-ing our calendars.

    That’s a thought, Maddy. Maybe you should throw it against the wall, see if it sticks! -g

  60. :D
    reminded me of someone I had known long back..
    *sigh* some people I tell you…
    murdering them is too easy..

    Hehe. Yes, it is – all you do is pull the trigger or keep them in the noose loop ;) I wonder if the Gods outsource their managers from hell? Just thinking out loud, don’t look at me like that! -g

  61. Dear Gauri,

    I shall be actioning your post and reverting with the deliverables shortly! :-)


    Now that’s what I call proactive! I appreciate such transparency :) -g

  62. Enjoyed this! Old faithfuls like ‘commonality’ , ‘vis-a-vis’, ‘as such’, ‘basically’ and ‘core-competency’ seem to have been banished, though. Nice to see old “Paradigm shift’ going strong.

    Thank you! More than banished, they seem to be successfully integrated into what has become normal language. Core-competencies will always remain a classic, though! -g

  63. And I was wondering why you went off on that tangent. I thought you and I are in the same page, but now is the time for a reality check (the only check that holds some water these days). These issues are all easily sorted out in the corporate bonding session in some offsite venue, where I will surely try to be the Ironman of the company.

    Unfortunately, this has no open door policy. Perhaps you want to retool the old processes and revisit lessons learned? :-| -g

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