Battle of the Corporate Speak

This is fantastic. Based on a few conversations we’ve had here in the past, I know that many of the Ricochetti share my utter disdain for bloodless corporate diction (also the name of a band I was in during college). That means you should appreciate Jargon Madness as much as I did.

Forbes has brilliantly put together a March Madness style bracket for the worst workplace lingo, which you can vote on at the site. Here’s how it breaks down:

Group 1:

Rock Star

Ask

Ideate

Do more with less

Going Forward

Make it happen

Takeaway

Thought leadership

Group 2:

Pivot

Bandwidth

‘Come to Jesus’ moment

Best-of-breed

Organic

Adult in the room

Big data

Care and Feeding

Group 3:

Change Management

Client-facing

Deliverable

Disruption

Effort

Punch a puppy

Optics

Parking lot

Group 4:

Sacrifice

Share of wallet

Pain point

Space

Take ownership

Onboarding

Fail

Alignment

I haven’t picked my winner yet, but my final four (for those who are unfamiliar with brackets, you get a final four by choosing the winner from each group) would be: Thought leadership, Organic, Change management, and Take ownership. What are yours?

  1. She

    In my other life as an IT person, I was occasionally required to attend the extended sales and promotion extravaganzas known as “Users Group Meetings.”

    And I’ll always be grateful to the fellow who introduced me to “BS Bingo,” in which we made a list just like this, full of the most overused and hyped IT words of the year, and waited for them to come out of the speakers’ mouths.

    We were rarely disappointed.

  2. PsychLynne

    I have to add “synergistically” (a cousin of “organic?”) to the list. 

    I work for the government and I make constant bets with myself about how long it will take someone to use this word, while simultaneously micromanaging a project or desired outcome

  3. Foxman
    Eric Jablow: “Push the Envelope” has a long and honored history in airplane testing, and “Envelope” has the sense of the envelope of a non-linear differential equation. For corporate executives, neither sense applies much. · 8 hours ago

    You can always tell when  the soft sciences are getting desperate, they use hard science terms.  Critical mass is my favorite.

    Percival: Wait…”critical mass” isn’t on the list, is it?

    Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

    Gah!  Now I can’t stop! 

    Curse you, Senik! · 8 hours ago

  4. Foxman

    I’m not sure how “Ask” got on this list.

    Herding cats should be.

  5. Mollie Hemingway

    Please, please, can’t they all win?

  6. Pseudodionysius

    Going forward should be:

    Go forward basis. In a meeting my blood pressure rises so much that blood vessels begin to burst in my eyes like the suspenders holding up Chris Christie’s pants.

  7. BrentB67

    Guilty of using some of this drivel in the past week. My apologies.

  8. Matthew K. Tabor

    What if I said, “Stop wasting time on this and get back to work?”

  9. Casey

    I’ll be shocked if Going Forward doesn’t face off against Deliverable in the finals.

  10. Percival
    Foxman

    Eric Jablow: “Push the Envelope” has a long and honored history in airplane testing, and “Envelope” has the sense of the envelope of a non-linear differential equation. For corporate executives, neither sense applies much. · 8 hours ago

    You can always tell when  the soft sciences are getting desperate, they use hard science terms.  Critical mass is my favorite.

    Percival: Wait…”critical mass” isn’t on the list, is it?

    Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

    Gah!  Now I can’t stop! 

    Curse you, Senik! · 8 hours ago

    26 minutes ago

    Things get hilarious when the suits show up for a meeting and start tossing off the technical/scientific phrases in front of the technologists and scientists.  The rest of the conversation ends up being a “Dilbert” cartoon.

  11. Jojo

    Hey!  I liked “deliverable” the first time I heard it.  It seemed to fill a need, just as “y’all” does.

    Also let me stand up for “It is what it is” which for me has a calming influence-otherwise I waste energy wishing it were otherwise.  It’s really deep Zen wisdom.

    And ”Run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes”, which was shamed away from overuse ten years ago, is still a (usually secret) favorite of mine.  My father had been using it for twenty years before I heard it anywhere else.

    There is a difference between innately obnoxious phrases and those which are just overused.

  12. Stuart Creque

    Ideate is a word that doesn’t belong anywhere outside of a mental ward – and maybe not even there.

    ‘Come to Jesus’ moment is far too grandiose for the subject at hand.

    Punch a puppy is a stupid metaphor, flavored with sadism.

    Onboarding is a noun turned into a verb turned back into a noun – it’s painful to see.

  13. Casey

    Whoa wait… Punch a puppy? Use that one in a sentence please.

  14. Fricosis Guy

    A list without “best practice” isn’t worth the interweb it’s printed on. 

  15. Pseudodionysius

    Ricochet is a diverse community, a multi colored, multi layered mosaic with many voices who feel empowered to influence their world through respectful, healing dialogue.

    I feel dirty just typing that.

  16. Daniel Frank

    Rock star: fast track phony leaving messes for the actual workers to clean up, as she ascends the corporate ladder

    Pivot: impulsively change direction, with no more reason than lay behind the original trajectory

    Client-facing: momentarily acknowledging that we have actual, you know, customers

    Sacrifice: something to be given up, without choice or discussion, by the person not speaking.

  17. EJHill

    Put them all together and they are very synergistic, coming through in concentric circles…

  18. Fricosis Guy

    Whomever wrote the Forbes piece is a bit out of the loop: de-risk, sustainability, green, cloud, monetize, gamefication, etc. is some fresher jargon. 

    Sadly, half of the Forbes list has been around so long that it has been onboarded by the OED already.

  19. Daniel Frank

    Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if the content editor world on the iPad? Just sayin’.

  20. jeffp

    Handshakefulness — where’s handshakefulness?

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