Humour In C-Suite – Jargon is a bad habit.
Then why do management folks use idioms and phrases in any conversation?
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 –
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