Every year it gets worse. The Jargonistas coin another phrase or two. Turn a few verbs into nouns, and euphemize language that was already just fine to begin with. Why? I haven’t a clue. Maybe they “don’t have a lot on their plates”, or feel the need to re-engineer their verbal processes. Anyway . . . .here are a few of my favorites with some commentary.

“TQM/Total Quality Management”- It’s one of those terms that begs the obvious question. What were we geared for in the past, Partial Quality Management?

“Added Value” -I just love this one. New, for 2009! We’ve finally added some value. Those value-less years are behind us now!

“Reach Out” -Back in olden times, we didn’t reach out for anyone, unless we were falling off a ledge or out of a tree. Now, reaching out is the choice “euphemism” for making a phone call. Maybe I’m naïve, but why would we need to soften up the phrase “call you”?

“Value Proposition”-“Why you should buy from us” used to be plenty good, but not anymore. Just remember that the bear trap is waiting in your path. If you haven’t any “added value”, you have no business stating a value proposition.

“Just in Time” (Delivery)-This is a crafty stretch by salesman (because the term is intended for manufacturing) so that they can charge a premium for timely delivery. I suppose we should all be thanking them for rescuing us from the dark days or “a few days late delivery”, “it could be a while” delivery, or the dreaded “what’s your company name again?” delivery.

"Vertical Integration"-Someone is in charge

"Horizontal Integration"-No one is in charge

“Proactive”-Maybe the best example of unintentional overkill, ever. It means, literally, that the person taking action was in favor of taking action. It is not the opposite of re-active. We already had that word; “active”.

“Process Re-engineering”-this was Jargon’s darling for a decade. I just have one question. If a team of engineers designs a bridge, and then fifty years later, a team of engineers designs a replacement bridge. Do they need degrees in Engineering, or re-Engineering?

“Business Readiness”-this is 2nd generation Jargon for the now, too harsh, Change Management. How I yearn for the good old days, when “firing the dead wood” was in vogue.

“Best Practices”-This one makes sense in a perverse way. Who wants to say “this year we’re gonna try doing it right”, when we can say “leverage best practices”. No shame in that!

“Face Time”-Once upon a time, a meeting was a meeting. But miracles of modern technology have made the word “meeting” an opaque concept. “Face time” now implies an actual, “in person” encounter. Still, it makes me laugh. I can’t help but ask why not say “time with you” instead of “face” time. Like there’s an option . . . .leg time perhaps, or maybe shoulder time?

"Heavy Lifting"-This is what white collars call their actual work in order to make it sound like work.

Multi-tasking-Maybe the most irritating phrase ever voiced. It’s a weak attempt at explaining to others that one can do many things at once (poorly).

“Mission Critical”-We used to say important, or God forbid, just “critical”. But Mission Critical; now that’s got a real James Bond feel to it.

“Offline”-means “later”. As in “we’ll talk about it later”. Needless to say, the first time someone said “offline, what does that mean”?; and the other party said “later”. The “offline” cover was blown.

“A lot on my plate”-Kind of cutesy metaphor meant to give real life meaning to “I have a lot of work to do”. Wait . . . doesn’t “I have a lot of work to do” have real life meaning?

“Think outside of the box”-another fave, coined to explain the complex, even abstruse concept of being creative. This phrase relies on Einstein’s revolutionary theory that creativity can only occur in unrestricted dimensions. The formula C=EM2, where C (Creativity), E (intellectual Energy) times M (I can’t believe you’re still reading this) 2.

Okay, you get the point. Have any favorites of your own, and comments to add? Send them to the Sourcerer . . . .
Share To:

Strategic Sourceror

Post A Comment:

0 comments so far,add yours