The business world is one of the worst offenders when it comes to jargon. It is full of superficially hip insider language that lends a sense of currency to ideas that are (or should be) just common sense. If I hear metrics, optics, curating, ecosystem, and granular one more time I will stack up all my business books in my front yard and set them on fire.

To put it plainly, jargon masks meaning. It doesn’t make things clearer. It hides what you are saying.

I suppose it is inevitable. Consultants persist in fabricating such vocabulary to make it seem they are worth the big bucks you pay them. Max Mallet and friends pull back the curtain on the machinery of these “all-powerful wizards.” Here are two of forty-five terms that are worst offenders.

Buy-In. David Logan, professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business notes: “Asking for someone’s ‘buy-in’ says, ‘I have an idea. I didn’t involve you because I didn’t value you enough to discuss it with you. I want you to embrace it as if you were in on it from the beginning, because that would make me feel really good.’”

Core Competency. In business-speak, this means a fundamental strength even though the word competent means only having a needed skill. “Do people talk about peripheral competency?” asks Bruce Barry, professor of management at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Business. “Being competent is not the standard we’re seeking. It’s like core mediocrity.”

One that annoys me most is:

Onboarding. Integrating new employees is important. Making sure they feel welcome and a part of the team is important. Why not just say that? Besides sounding like waterboarding or overboarding, do we want to begin by telling people they are getting on a cruise ship? Sure, workplaces can be fun. But if you want committed, long-term employees, captivate them with meaningful, life-giving work.

What’s the business jargon you love to hate?

image: Pixabay, mohamed_hassan

I Hate “the Creative Class”

I hate “the Creative Class.”

I don’t hate creative people. I love them and find them very stimulating. I am always interested in new ideas, new ways of doing things. I am fascinated and delighted when people come up with really good solutions or show artistic talent.

What I hate is the term the Creative Class. Why?
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