19 June 2009


Some words have been abused so much in the Corporate World that they have become a joke. They just don’t mean anything anymore. Again, there is corporatese (here I go again, trying to mimic a pattern to invent a word; if there can be legalese why can’t there be coporatese?) where words are masqueraded as metaphors and idioms of life by tweaking (tweaking is another ugh!) their usage. But with overuse these notional words have degenerated to jargon. Here is a list compiled by David Silverman of Harvard Business Review. He gives the primordial meanings of these words. My own favorite, which did not make to David’s list, is ‘proactive’. I have added proactive in the end

Solution v. = put something in salty water
Skill set n. = tools for carving wood
Workshop v. = the using of skill sets in a room where you keep power tools
Build n. = a presentation’s physique, i.e. “Look at the build on that PowerPoint slide”
Deck n. = The thing that keeps you from falling into the boat
Opportunity n. = blind luck
Thought leader n. = the thing that comes before a thought, i.e. a blank expression
Best of breed n. = A very fast horse
Action item n. = An item with a racing stripe
Out of the box adj. = Referring to a place on the counter where you put things after you take them out of the box
Off the grid n. = Incautious crayon use
Lessons learned n. = Lessons where the student was awake as opposed to unconscious
On the other hand conj. = Where there are warts
Going forward v. = To drive a car. “I will be going forward to home this afternoon.”
Bandwidth n. = A stage or other performance area.
Silo n. = A place for grain.
Functional Silo n. = A working place for grain.
Win-win n. = Sign on an extra-large slot machine
Branding n. = Letters on cows
Dialogue v. = Shakespeare rotating underground
Look v. = to look at something and wonder what is there, but there isn’t anything at all
Resources n. = bits of metal in rocks
Roundtable v. = Serve food on a disc
Offline n. = Another crayon error
Impacted v. = Hit very, very hard.
Let me be clear, conj = An attempt to confuse
Diversity n. = Two versities (or one large versity cut in half)
Low-hanging fruit n. = Fruit about to go rotten
Mashup n. = A way to serve potatoes
Meme n. = A catchphrase of Ms. Piggy. (technically, “memememememe”)
Current status n. = Availability of electricity
Stakeholder n. = A hand that shakes in relation to who’s holder the hammer.
Utilize v. = no one knows
Up shot n. = Whiskey, completed
Preapproval n. = A time machine that can go back before logic existed.
State of Preparedness n. = Kentucky
Lifecycle n. = A bicycle that saves your life, i.e. by running into a building on fire
Proactive adj. = of a tendency where activeness is professional

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