Why? Because he’s just made it up.
I admit to sharing his phobia about corporate speak. Let me explain. Have you suggested that your business goes for ‘low hanging fruit’ recently? Have you talked about the ‘core competencies’ required to perform a key function, ‘forensics’, ‘leveraging’ or ‘empowering people’?
If you are guilty of any of the above, then take care. One or more people in the meeting listening to you talk about ‘reverse engineering’, the ‘big picture’ and things happening in ‘real time’ may be playing buzzword bingo—scratching out the appropriate square on a card when you utter that bit of corporate speak.
Yep… they just cannot wait for you to say ‘performance indicators’ (also referred to as KPIs, where the K stands for Key), ‘metrics’ and ‘blame culture’.
Commentators suggest a number of reasons for use of business babble. I agree with my associate that they crop up because…
- people like to use the word or phrase as evidence of their own abilities—deliberately using a consultant / management speak derived phrase rather than straightforward English to impress
- people use these phrases as part of a pack mentality—pinging them back and forth to each other almost as part of a set of bonding rituals
- as part of the above… people use this kind of language to exclude the uninitiated.
Don’t misunderstand me—the English language is evolving all the time—indeed, it has to in order to keep up with new concepts (just think of all the IT-related words in everyday parlance which someone 30 years ago would simply not understand). I’m not against evolution… but I do not like the invention and adoption of buzzwords whose main purpose is to communicate something about the perpetrator rather than to enhance what they have to say; or even not to communicate… but to keep people in the dark.
So, to all those guilty leaders, I say, ‘Bingo!’
Tags: attendees big picture business culture buzzword buzzwords commentators conformance consultant everyday parlance forensics invention low hanging fruit mentality metrics mumbo mumbo jumbo performance indicators phobia reverse engineering rituals