Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Business Jargon

One of the things that annoyed me the most when I worked in a big company was exactly what this article points out.

I would consistently cross paths with people who would talk in these unfathomable cliches and who were typically highly regarded within the organization. Such people were the inspiration for several of my MOTWs, (Manager of the Week) including this one, this one and this one, among others.

The one thing the article fails to mention which I noticed happened in the company I worked for was what I would call the word of the moment. This was a phenomenon whereupon some word would come into vogue in the company and suddenly that word would be thrown around in conference calls, meetings, presentations, etc, by people wanting to sound important and in the know.

One such example was the word "robust." This word mysteriously appeared in the company's lexicon and suddenly became ubiquitous, being thrown around at all times, such as, "Our product needs to be as robust as possible" or "That model is simply not robust enough to present to senior management" or "Our talent management process needs to be more robust."

And just like that, being robust was a requirement for everything until a new word du jour came along and robust became passe. How long it took to become passe was predicated by the seniority of the people using the word. The more senior the people using it the longer it took to fade away, but eventually it would and a new word would take its place.

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