Humour In C-Suite – Jargon is a bad habit.

Dhananjay Parkhe

C Suite Mentor✥Business Strategy✥Sustainability✥Leadership✥Risk Management✥Pro-Bono Advisor✥Consultant✥Educator✥

Humour In C-Suite – Jargon is a bad habit.

Then why do management folks use idioms and phrases in any conversation?

Consultants/ Advisors/ Mentors/ Coaches/Educators ( all of the roles I have played in my lifetime 🙂 )  – all use jargon as if it was their second language.  It serves as a short-cut way to say the most boring things in a seemingly pseudo-intellectual way. 
Its Hep, Trendy, a chummy way to talk is what they feel.  It is as we were jealous of doctors & lawyers who have their own technical vocabulary and world famous handwriting for company! 🙂 ! 

IMHO, Jargon is a bad habit.   It is non-sensical, it is annoying for the listener.  Having said that, jargon is still something we should know, even if you don’t use it 🙂

I grouped these jargons into different buckets depending on how much analysis was needed vs. how much analysis was done.  The simple box is called a “two-by-two” matrix and is a favourite among consultants.  It narrows down the key factors into the X and Y axis and forces you to group this into something easy to understand.  How I wish they were given “Forced words Association” tests like “DISC Profiling” to understand their behaviour under pressure ! I am a true believer in DISC methods and feel most would have had a Flip Score to the boot 

So here is our 2X2 Matrix –
Bottom left (little analysis needed, little analysis done):  At the beginning of a project, it is often necessary to just ballpark the number or do aback of the envelope calculation to get some initial estimates.  Sometimesconsultants guess at the answer early in the project and then continuously refine their hypotheses as they get more information.

Top left (analysis needed, but not done):  Here the consultant made a mistake.   Either they ran out of time, got lazy, or forgot to do the needed analysis.  As a result, he is taking a SWAG at the answer – which is never a good idea.  It is a lose-lose.  Either the consultant tells the client that he guessing (lose) or hides the weakness in the analysis (lose).

Top right (analysis needed and completed): These two expressions are very common.  After completing a broader analysis, it is often necessary to do a deep dive in specific areas.  You often have to drill down into the the data to really find out what is going on.   Deep dives are good things because they have a lot of rigorous analysis, but they are also very targeted.

Bottom right (analysis not needed, but done anyways):  Here the consultant is wasting time.  She has spent hours gathering data or doing analysis without a purpose.  She is trying to boil the ocean, instead of thinking through the problem in a structured way.  If the partner says you are boiling the ocean, it means that you are lost.  Not a good sign.  Frankly, all of us spend too much time in meetings – so it is no surprise that there is a lot of jargon around this topic.  Some of this jargon applies to things that happen before, during and after the meeting.  You will find this straight-forward.  .  .
  • Hope your have read the Pre-read: A document sent to the attendees before the meeting with the expectations that people come prepared
  • Lets put it in the Parking lot: A way to make note of a tangential topic (not directly related to the meeting), so that it can be discussed later.  This is a great tactic to re-direct the conversation to the main agenda
  • To table: Just a fancy way to say “postpone”
  • Hard stop: The latest that someone can stay in a meeting.  This is a polite way of saying, “I have another obligation at that time, so don’t be offended if leave the meeting or drop off the call”.
  • Let’s discuss this Offline: Just a fancy way to say “Later, in private”  This is used to table a conversation until after the formal meeting.  This also prevents a conversation between 2 people monopolizing the meeting time
The list of business jargon is endless. There is a website called The Office Life, which has a reservoir to 900+ “cringe-worthy” consulting-y words.   If you listen closely, you will see how business jargon is used at your work.  It can be overwhelming.  Remember: the client wants you to speak clearly and with authenticity, not with business jargon and slang.  
Idioms: What is the meaning of the phrase “If it floats, it’s a witch”?
Idioms: Why is the phrase “by heart” used for memorizing something, rather than “by brain”?  
I’ll have to find some other idiom / Jargon to explain this one ! 🙂
I am sure the discerning readers can contribute a lot more than me thru their Likes and Comments so that we can continue our Habit and turn it into a Full Business Jargon Thesis.  So Help me Readers ! 🙂
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