Lastest Salvos from the Jargon Front

I was at a conference last week, which is a great opportunity to cope with jet lag. It’s also a fun way to hear the newest, latest in consulting jargon.

1) Single-Point Sensitive

What if you have a task or duty in your organization that’s single-point sensitive? Wow, that sounds bad … like you need a consultant, right? Actually, it means you only got one frickin’ guy to do the job. But should I ever get extruded from middle to upper management, I’m making a mental note not to say, “See, the problem is that we only got one frickin’ guy to do the job.”

Instead I’m going to say, “The problem is that the task is single-point sensitive.”

And all those junior middle managers are going to crap their pants extrude fecal matter in awe of my business acumen.

2) Boil the Ocean

I rather like this one. It has a verb in it, it’s punchy Anglo-Saxon instead of abstract Latin (see no. 10), and it’s even metaphoric. The super-smart consultant speaking used it like this: “you don’t want to turn all these features on at once and try to please everyone in the whole enterprise. Instead of trying to boil the ocean, you want to concentrate on a few features at a time.”

What’s funny, though, is that I heard it for the first time last Thursday, from said Australian consultant, in Florida. Then, only six days later, I heard an American executive use the same phrase at a software seminar. In Portland.

This too is going in my semisecret future-upper-management vocabulary.

3) Generate Some Verbiage

While toiling in middle management this week, I got an e-mail from one of the vendors I deal with who used this phrase. I love it! Instead of “write some copy,” or “add a comment” or something that’s the slightest bit … I dunno, clear, he used “generate some verbiage.” (Can you get any more Latin or meaningless than that? Did you catch that slight whiff of pejorative resemblance to a phrase like “excrete some feces”?)

Future middle managers take note: If you give me a report, and I thank you for generating verbiage, I might be damning you with faint praise.

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