My Mother Should Wash Our Mouths Out With Soap

Hello Tiger Team and thank your for joining me in this Come to Jesus Meeting. In the next few minutes I want to Drill Down and Put on Your Radar Screen a Human Capital Core Competency issue plaguing all organizations today.

I want us to Wrap Our Heads Around the issue and Give It 110% to arrive at a Solution that is not just Lipstick on a Pig. Rest assured, this is Mission Critical and this is In Your Wheelhouse. Fortunately, the Optics Are Good to solve this issue because you’re all Strategic Assets.

As you might have surmised, I’m talking about the way we talk in the workplace.

I’m talking about the obfuscating, pontificating, dehumanizing and euphemistic Memo Speak that has Scope-Creeped its way into our daily business lives.

In short, I’m talking about using words that my mother, rest in peace, but being a former English teacher, would surely scold you for using with the same rebuke as she used to scold me and my siblings when we might let a cuss word slip. That’s when she would say, “If I hear you saying that word again, I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap”

Yes, I think my Mom would be perplexed by the way we talk in business these days. And I’m not even going to address all the drive-by acronyms we use to absurdity. I’m going to confine my critique to just jargon. Are you drinking my Kool-Aid?

Below you will see a list of some of my favorite jargon words and phrases. The goal of this exercise is not just to entertain, though there is some warped comedy here. The goal is to simply make you more aware of, and help reduce, the mumbo-jumbo we all find ourselves mouthing these days. Don’t worry; I promise to keep the list short as I have a Hard Stop for another meeting I’m already late for.

Here’s my short list:

    • Bandwidth (Oh, I’m a strand of fiber-optic cable.)
    • Move the Needle (You mean the one that’s lost in the haystack?)
    • Think Outside the Box (This might have been clever and illustrative the first 6.3 billion times it was used. Now it’s just insipid. Forget the box, just think.)
    • Let’s Take it Offline (How about let’s don’t.)
    • Reach Out (Excuse me? Don’t ever touch me like that again.)
    • Take it to the Next Level (You mean to cloud 10?)
    • Siloed (Not even cows do not chew their cud as offensively as this.).
    • Push the envelope (Let’s leave this to Chuck Yeager who used it to mean testing the outer limits of an aircraft’s abilities).
    • Bleeding Edge (When did we get moved to ER?)
    • Lots of Moving Parts (And we’re all flappers in pinball machines.)
    • Ecosystem (Have we opened a new Aquaculture Division?)
    • Throw it over the Wall (Into another silo?)
    • Boil the Ocean (Why not; you’ve sure turned up the heat!)
    • It is What it Is (It sure is. How about from now on, we just use IIWII)

OK, I’ve Opened my Kimono. You have Drank my Kool-Aid and I have Killed a Few Puppies.

I trust I have made two points by this exercise.

  1. Business jargon dilutes and dumb-down what we’re trying to say, and it can be dehumanizing to the persons we’re talking to.
  2. My mother might be watching, and speaking from personal experience, you won’t like Having Your Mouth Washed Out With Soap.

What are your pet peeve jargon words or phrases?

July 2, 2015

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