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Corporate Speak

#1 User is offline   TheRobster 

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:09 AM

Corporate speak really p**ses me off....why can't people just talk normally ffs? The worst offenders seem to be mid-level managers for some reason...people who's jobs seem to involve going to lots of meetings but not actually doing anything. Maybe they invent their own language to hide this fact? So they can spend hours jibber jabbing to each other and trying to sound important whilst enabling denile of the fact that they don't actual have a purpose and probably shouldn't be getting paid lots more than the people who do the actual work. grr.

Things I've heard recently:

"what is your glide trajectory on this piece of work?" (translation: when will it be finished by?)

"what is your strategy going forward?" (translation: what you doing next?)

"we'll digest your feedback and place it in the feeback carpark, if it's deemed important it will be assigned a high carpark ticket number" (translation: if what you said was good then we might do something with it")

Maybe I'm just grouchy because I've spent hours in meetings this week that have literally achieved FUCK ALL because of this sort of thing. Worst of all I find some of this type of terminology slipping in to my own speech/emails. Rage!!! :-(

This post has been edited by TheRobster: 30 October 2013 - 11:12 AM


#2 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:03 PM

If someone actually said "we'll digest your feedback and place it in the feeback carpark, if it's deemed important it will be assigned a high carpark ticket number", you need to have a serious conversation with them.

It's the same thing as tech's using acronyms around the unversed. It creates an illusion of higher understanding in order to tip the imaginary power balance. Rarely works though, because in both scenarios you come off looking like a complete tool.

#3 User is offline   Zara 

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:02 PM

Pretty much the reason I'm self-employed. I don't really get any of it any more. I did get an email the other day from Red management giving me some business tips for the Christmas period. The first one was "Keep your car clean and tidy inside and out".

#4 User is offline   Croc 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:09 AM

We were talking about this at work the other day. Interesting thread on it here:http://news.slashdot...43&cid=45265427

Also, http://en.wikipedia....Peter_Principle and http://en.wikipedia....lbert_principle


A lot of the "PMs" here are failed techs, ageing techs who move into management as it's "what you do", or no longer have the drive to stay on the forefront of technology. It's also an easier career track (at least in big companies I've worked for) to move upwards. Technical career paths are less understood and mapped out than those in sales, project management and delivery.

On the smaller projects with a skilled team, the PMs are babysitting spreadsheets.

#5 User is offline   TheRobster 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:52 AM

View PostJackfrost, on 30 October 2013 - 06:03 PM, said:

If someone actually said "we'll digest your feedback and place it in the feeback carpark, if it's deemed important it will be assigned a high carpark ticket number", you need to have a serious conversation with them.


It was in an email so not as bad as someone actually saying it to me - still pretty bad though.

I think a lot of it is for two reasons 1) To try and hide the fact that a lot of management don't actually know a lot about what's going on in a business at the coal-face. With one exception none of my managers know what the operational and technical staff do on a day-to-day basis, what makes the company actually keep going etc. All they see are bullet points that summarise summaries so they are out of touch with what's actually going on. Another is that they get asked questions which they can't actually answer. Was at a conference for asset management the other week and one of the directors was asked how we are supposed to keep our assets in good shape when we are undergoing staff and budget cuts. There's no obvious easy answer so they guy just went on about managing risk, managing expectations, efficient use of resources etc. Didn't actually say anything about what we would actually need to do because he didn't basically have a clue what most people do on a day to day basis or how to actually address any of the problems.

Our current approach to management training is that it's not deemed important that managers know anything about the technical side of what their staff do - they are seen as people managers so that sort of in-depth knowledge isn't deemed important.

This post has been edited by TheRobster: 31 October 2013 - 08:54 AM


#6 User is offline   DrWu 

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:00 PM

And yet, let techies run projects and see them fail most of the time. There are obviously bad techies and bad PMs but both are required in order for things to work.

I manage people and teams. I don't have the time to understand the detail of what they do so I have to put in processes so that I know what they are doing is right. I can't know the ins and outs of technically what they are doing past a certain level and I don't want to. I've been there and done that and it doesn't really interest me anymore. I understand the basics and the fundamentals. Obviously if I had infinite time I would know everything but I don't. There's a right balance somewhere along the line and whilst im sure we don't all reach this balance it is important that we understand that a balance is required.

What you're saying smacks of someone who doesn't understand how business and management works rather than managers not knowing how technology works. Technology is a function of business. Making money is the goal, not technology in itself. Technology is a way to make money. It's a means, not an end. Be a techie, get awesome, become a master - that's cool. But if you are knee deep in the technology do you understand the goals? Do you understand the financials, the relationships, the marketing, the operation functions? Who assists you in your development, who works with you to set your goals, argues on your behalf for your reward? Deals with all the shit, hires, fires, develops, devises strategies?

It's easy to dismiss all of that but in reality without all that you don't have a viable business that can grow to anything other than a lifestyle business.

#7 User is offline   Jackfrost 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:04 PM

I've worked with good project managers and bad project managers, same goes for techs. Language used by either party often causes problems.

We've recently had our head tech leave, he was incredibly good at what he did in that he knew technology in and out but he had no ability to explain why things were done or the best way to get to an end result in a non-technical capacity. He would often leave people completely baffled, even those who should have been on his level because his head was so deep in technology rather than what the business needed or what he was trying to achieve communication often just failed.

As long as you hate meetings as much as I do Wu, I'll promise not to call you a failed tech!

#8 User is offline   Sticky 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 01:07 PM

View PostDrWu, on 31 October 2013 - 10:00 PM, said:

And yet, let techies run projects and see them fail most of the time. There are obviously bad techies and bad PMs but both are required in order for things to work.

I manage people and teams. I don't have the time to understand the detail of what they do so I have to put in processes so that I know what they are doing is right. I can't know the ins and outs of technically what they are doing past a certain level and I don't want to. I've been there and done that and it doesn't really interest me anymore. I understand the basics and the fundamentals. Obviously if I had infinite time I would know everything but I don't. There's a right balance somewhere along the line and whilst im sure we don't all reach this balance it is important that we understand that a balance is required.

What you're saying smacks of someone who doesn't understand how business and management works rather than managers not knowing how technology works. Technology is a function of business. Making money is the goal, not technology in itself. Technology is a way to make money. It's a means, not an end. Be a techie, get awesome, become a master - that's cool. But if you are knee deep in the technology do you understand the goals? Do you understand the financials, the relationships, the marketing, the operation functions? Who assists you in your development, who works with you to set your goals, argues on your behalf for your reward? Deals with all the shit, hires, fires, develops, devises strategies?

It's easy to dismiss all of that but in reality without all that you don't have a viable business that can grow to anything other than a lifestyle business.


None of this explains why certain types of people use corporate lingo. Corporate jargon is an unnecessary obfuscation. I just had a quick glance through the wiki page for business terms and some of those verbs made me genuinely angry. A verb should not make a person angry. I realise this may be as much an issue with the reader as the subject matter but normal verbs don't make me angry.

In fact, my wife has got two weeks leave coming up, and she said to me that she might have to do some 'actioning' while she was off, and when I looked perplexed she explained that she meant 'open emails and take action if necessary, ring people or whatever'. Fucking say that then! Obviously I punched her square in the face, and we hammered out a compromise and she promised not to use horrible corporate jargon ever again. Win-win.

#9 User is offline   TheRobster 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 01:32 PM

Wu I'm not against management in principle, obviously there needs to be people at different levels of a company with different abilities and focus (field work, tech work, people management, strategic management etc). What I was on about was the whole corporate mind-set, the way people speak which means less than nothing and is worse than useless. I notice it more with mid-level managers who I don't think are particularly good at their jobs so I suspect they learn to speak this way to cover up their own inadequacies. I just wonder what's going through their heads sometimes and if they know how ineffectual their communication skills often are. It's the talking for talking's sake that bugs me, the use of catchphrases and empty statements that sound professional but have zero meaning. It just makes me want to slap people.

#10 User is offline   Zara 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:22 PM

It's just stupidity. Most people aren't bright enough to see how empty some of these phrases are and so they are just accepted and repeated. (By middle-management as well as those below them).

Not to do with management, but I'm convinced that the general population's misuse of the word 'literally' is all down to Michael fucking McIntyre.

This post has been edited by Zara: 01 November 2013 - 03:23 PM


#11 User is offline   Sticky 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:46 PM

I blame Americans for the 'literally' scandal.

#12 User is offline   Croc 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:49 PM

View PostSticky, on 01 November 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:



I liked the "see also" related topic list :D

#13 User is offline   Sticky 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:19 PM

Haha I knew I'd seen it somewhere recently

#14 User is offline   Dev 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:12 PM

It was explained to me (during a corporate induction actually) that language has 3 purposes, only one of which is to communicate. The other reasons are to identify members of the group - by using the same phrasing, slang, acronyms, you're telling the person you're talking to "we are part of the same group". The third reason is to exclude outsiders by making a subset of language they find hard to penetrate.

All groups of any size do it. Whether its grouping by class, profession, culture even interests.

#15 User is offline   TheRobster 

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 09:45 AM

Jimbo etc. ;-)

#16 User is offline   Earthy 

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:08 PM

Could you email me the presentation, detailing the highlights or just a 2 sentence overview.

#17 User is offline   King Phil 

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 10:53 PM

http://i.imgur.com/k2StzFf.jpg

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