The Dictionary Of Ridiculous Business Jargon

Back To Main
Back To Humor
  • Above-board [adj.] Honest and open. “I don’t think you’re being totally above-board with me.”
  • Aces in their places! [exp.] When someone shouts this out, everyone runs to their station and leverages their core competency.
  • Acluistic [adj.] The state of being completely ‘without a clue.’
  • Across the piece [exp.] Affecting an entire project or organization. “We’re aiming for improvements in efficiency across the piece.”
  • Action [v.] To undertake a given task; to put into practice. “Don’t bother me while I’m actioning my deliverables.”
  • Action item [n.] A short term goal that requires a measure of work to complete. Basically a dynamic, proactive version of the things scribbled on your ‘to do’ list.
  • Actionable [adj.] Originally a legal word referring to anything that affords grounds for a lawsuit. Business people have perverted it to mean anything on which an action can be taken.
  • Address [v.] Used as a replacement for ‘do’, ‘tackle’, or ‘complete’, this word nicely avoids making a commitment to which the speaker can be held accountable. “I will address all of your concerns in the upcoming weeks.”
  • Adhocracy [n.] A minimally structured business where teams are formed as they are needed to address specific problems.
  • Admin [n.] Political correctness beat brevity when Secretary became Administrative Assistant. Brevity is back. “Get on the horn with my Admin.”
  • Administrivia [n.] A term that encompasses all the trivial tasks that management is far too qualified to suffer through.
  • Adoption process [n.] The customer’s steps along the path from cautious cynic to submissive consumer of your product.
  • Aggressive mediocrity [n.] A conscious effort to ensure that the bare minimum, and nothing more, is achieved.
  • Agreeance [n.] A fancier way of saying agreement. “Are we in agreeance?”
  • Air it out [v.] To discuss an issue openly. “I heard you had a problem with some of our business practices. Let’s get your team together and air it out this afternoon.”
  • Al Desco [adj.] Describes any meal eaten at your desk (you have our sympathies if it’s dinner). “I slept in so I’m having breakfast Al Desco.”
  • ALAP [adj.] As Late As Possible. Describes meeting a deadline at the last possible moment in order to avoid receiving additional work. “I finished it last week, but I’m going to submit it ALAP.”
  • Alignment [n.] Consensus. “Can we align on lunch orders?”
  • All-hands meeting [n.] A mandatory meeting for all employees. “Bob called an all-hands meeting this afternoon. It’s never a good sign when he’s willing to freeze the whole department for an hour.” Let the navy keep the nautical slang.
  • Alpha geek [n.] The head of your company’s IT department.
  • Alpha pup [n.] Trendsetting young people. Important targets for marketing to this age group. “Let’s get six alpha pups in here for a focus group.”
  • Amped [adj.] Having a large amount of excitement and energy. “I’m so amped about this new product line.”
  • Anacronym [n.] An acronym that is so old, no one remembers the original phrase. Examples include RADAR, ASCII, and SNAFU.
  • Anecgloat [n.] A story of one’s exploits that is intended to impress. May be partly fictional.
  • Animal spirits [n.] The irrational optimism that drives people to risk their life savings on a half-baked start-up idea.
  • Anointed [n.] An employee that can’t seem to do anything wrong in the eyes of management.
  • Anonymize [v.] To make anonymous.
  • Anticipointment [n.] The feeling that something didn’t live up to its hype.
  • Appetite [n.] Level of interest. “Don’t spend another minute on this till you sample consumer appetite.”
  • Apple polish [v.] To suck-up, flatter.
  • Armchair general [n.] Someone who speaks critically, but has no experience in the field in question.
  • Around [adv.] Replaces ‘about’ with a softer, tangential approach. “We need to dialog around your choice of work attire.”
  • Arrows to fire [exp.] Points to use in an argument. “Now if you don’t have anymore arrows to fire, I think we’re finished here.”
  • Ask [n.] Used when the word ‘request’ is not quite cool enough. “Where do we stand on the latest client ask?”
  • Assignment capsule [n.] A clearly defined job description or task. “Stop arguing about objectives and start handing out assignment capsules.”
  • Assmosis [v.] The apparent absorption of success that comes from sucking up.
  • At the end of the day [exp.] The speaker would like you to know that he has a profound understanding about what is important and what is not.
  • At this juncture [exp.] Now. “We’re not prepared to go public at this juncture.”
  • Availability [n.] A convenient way of separating the individual from the ability to manage her own time. “I’d love to come, but I’m not sure about my availability, grandma.”

 

  • B-school [n.] Business school. “We were tight back in b-school.”
  • Babylonian orgy [n.] A boring conference out of town. Only applicable if the participant won’t enjoy a single minute of the time away. “Tim’s off at some Babylonian orgy, so don’t expect him back till Monday.”
  • Back door [adj.] Unethical or dishonest.
  • Back-of-the-envelope [adj.] Has been heard describing anything completed in a quick, casual manner, although it most often references the informal calculations made by engineering and finance types.
  • Backburner [v.] The act of deprioritizing, as if the noun weren’t bad enough. “Let’s backburner that salary review until your next annual.”
  • Bacon job [n.] A project with no shortage of volunteers; a plum position.
  • Bad paper [n.] A payment made in worthless currency (cash or cheque).
  • Bag of snakes [n.] A business situation with many unexpected problems.
  • Bait and switch [v.] To advertise low priced items that aren’t actually available.
  • Bake-off [n.] A side-by-side comparison of two products. “Have you done a bake-off between the finalists?”
  • Baked-in [adj.] Included. “Those options are already baked in with this model.”
  • Ballpark [v.] To make an estimate. “Can you ballpark the cost per unit for me?”
  • Balls in the air [exp.] Number of ongoing tasks. Used when feeling maxed out like a busy juggler. “Let’s meet again when I have fewer balls in the air.”
  • Band-aid [v.] To apply a trivial solution to a problem. “We’ll band-aid the situation for now.”
  • Bandwidth [n.] The physical and mental limit of your working ability. “I don’t have the bandwidth for another project right now.” Let the techies keep this word, seriously.
  • Bang for the buck [n.] The return on invested money.
  • Bangalored [v.] Having been fired after your position was transferred to India. “Last month they bangalored our entire tech support department.”
  • Bankroll [v.] To finance. “We can’t afford to bankroll another research project in this area.”
  • Banner year [n.] The best year in history for a given firm. Most likely, you’re not having one of these.
  • Barnburner [n.] An exciting situation.
  • Base-tending [v.] To guard one’s assets.
  • Baseline [v.] To establish a minimum standard of knowledge for all employees. “Baseline the procedure and samepage your department.”
  • Bat a thousand [exp.] A baseball term meaning a 100% success rate.
  • Batting average [n.] Indicates the percentage of time that someone or something is successful. “We need to bring up our batting average in the overseas market.”
  • Battle rhythm [n.] A logistical plan. “We’re not leaving that conference room until we establish a battle rhythm for this project.”
  • Bean-counter [n.] A derogatory term for an accountant. “The bean-counters are coming in for another audit next week.”
  • Beat the bushes [v.] Marketing to unconventional or rural areas.
  • Beauty contest [n.] A competitive pitching situation. “Bring in the next firm; I want to wrap up this beauty contest before my 4 o’clock tee off.”
  • Beef up [v.] To make stronger.
  • Behind the eight ball [exp.] In a difficult position.
  • Bell [n.] A phone call. “Give us a bell before you leave work today.”
  • Bell ringer [n.] A door to door salesman.
  • Belts and suspenders [exp.] Proceeding with an overabundance of caution. “Make sure we’re belts and suspenders before those quotes go out.”
  • Best endeavors [n.] A promise of effort, but not results. “…now let me assure you that we’re pushing forward, best endeavors.”
  • Best in breed [adj.] Alleged or perceived superior quality among similar products offered by competing companies. Generally used as an excuse to explain a noticeable price difference. “We’ve always specialized in bringing products to the market that are best in breed.”
  • Best practices [n.] Procedures and policies that have shown to be the most effective.
  • Betamaxed [adj.] When a product has been overtaken by an inferior, but well marketed alternative.
  • BHAG [n.] Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal
  • Bifurcate [v.] An overly complex word that HR uses when splitting your position into two separate jobs. Feel free to reapply for either of them.
  • Big enchilada [n.] An important person within an organization.
  • Big learn [n.] The process of gaining skills that are difficult to master. “We know things didn’t go very well, but you have to remember that it’s been a big learn for us all.”
  • Binary answer [n.] A yes or no response. “Stop dancing around the question and give me a binary answer.”
  • Birdtable [v.] To meet and discuss an issue before assigning tasks. “We’ll birdtable the new schedule tomorrow.”
  • Black box [n.] New and unfamiliar technology about which uninformed decisions are often made.
  • Black sky thinking [n.] One step beyond blue sky thinking. For those who will not abide any limitations on their flights of fancy.
  • Blackberry Heisman [n.] A dismissive gesture typically performed by pompous executives. The subject fields a call in one hand while holding up the symbolic “stiff arm” with the other.
  • Blamestorming [v.] Meeting to discuss a failure and find a scapegoat.
  • Blast of leadership [n.] When a company that prides itself on employee self-esteem and a non-threatening PC atmosphere must urgently adopt an authoritarian leadership style. “You coddled the union and grievances doubled… it’s time for me to step in and deliver a blast of leadership.”
  • Bleed [v.] Extract a large sum of money from an organization or individual.
  • Bleeding-edge [adj.] Something even more current than the ‘cutting-edge’. Reserved for only the most novel (read: hyped) technologies.
  • Blessed [adj.] Approved and supported by company leadership. “Don’t commit another dollar till this is blessed by the corner office.”
  • Bloatation [v.] Filling non-essential positions instead of core staff. Usually occurs just before bankruptcy.
  • Bloombergsmanship [n.] The art of using B’s signature financial news terminal so well that it makes up for a total lack of experience in finance.
  • Blow by blow [exp.] To cover all the details.
  • Blow hot and cold [v.] To frequently change one’s mind.
  • Blow-in [n.] Advertising materials inserted between the pages of a magazine that you’ll spend 10 minutes removing before it’s readable.
  • Blue hairs [exp.] A derogatory term for a female seniors.
  • Blue money [n.] Funds spent quickly and recklessly.
  • Blue ocean [n.] A metaphor for the wider, deeper potential of market space that is not yet explored. “I look at the sales opportunities in front of you clowns, and all I see is blue, blue ocean.”
  • Blue-ocean opportunity [n.] A promising option that might not be foreseen by the competition. “Blue-ocean opportunity baby, we’re talking uncharted waters here.”
  • Blue-sky thinking [n.] A thought exercise where any possibility is considered.
  • BOHICA [exp.] Bend Over Here It Comes Again.
  • Boiler room [n.] A sales firm with questionable practices.
  • Boilerplate [n.] Standard legal wording used company or industry-wide. Since no one really reads it, this is a great place to be sneaky.
  • Boiling the frog [v.] The art of managing change so smoothly that it goes unnoticed. From the overused, possibly bogus cliché claiming that frogs will jump directly out of boiling water, but will happily perish when heated slowly.
  • Boiling the ocean [v.] Attempting to do something with too broad a scope. This is generally in reference to a project or initiative to avoid. “The client is living a pipe dream; when are they going to stop trying to boil the ocean?”
  • Book the goods [v.] A really slick way of saying ‘place an order.’ “Make sure you book the goods before you take off this afternoon.”
  • Boondoggle [n.] An unethical use of public money.
  • Boot camp [n.] A company training program.
  • Boot strap business [n.] A company started with very little capital.
  • Boots on the ground [n.] An overly dramatic way to refer to employees sent to work at an off-site location.
  • Bottom fishing [v.] Purchasing stocks that have a very low value.
  • Bottom line it [exp.] To summarize. “I don’t have time to read your progress report. Can you bottom line it for me?”
  • Bounce [v.] To be removed forcefully, fired.
  • Bouncebackability [n.] The ability to reverse a losing situation and then succeed.
  • Bow wave [n.] The initial effects caused by upper management changes. “The bow wave might hit them a little hard, but they’ll get over it.”
  • Brain dump [v.] To extract the knowledge of an expert employee for the benefit of others.
  • Brand terrorist [n.] An employee who is undermining the organization.
  • Brandatories [n.] All of the branding elements that must be included in a given ad or campaign. “Make sure the brandatories are in place before the shoot begins.”
  • Brass tacks [n.] 1) Fundamental business information or practices. “We need to scale back R & D and get back to brass tacks.” 2) The raw material required for a company’s core products.
  • Breadcrumbing [v.] Sweeping up multiple odd jobs into one single position. Fulfillment and respect not guaranteed.
  • Break bread [v.] 1) To share profits or wealth with another. “If you’re not willing to break bread on this, we walk.” 2) To hold a meeting with an informal and friendly tone (and maybe food). “Let’s break bread this afternoon and lock it down.”
  • Break your crayons [exp.] To harm or insult another person. “I don’t mean to break your crayons, but your performance has been terrible lately.”
  • Brick and mortar [adj.] A business with a physical location and building, as opposed to the basements and garages that most online retailers ship from.
  • Bricks-to-clicks [exp.] When a traditional company realizes that a website is necessary to stay competitive.
  • Bring to the table [exp.] The contribution (or lack thereof) that one makes to a group. “What do you feel you would bring to the table if you were hired for this position?”
  • Bronx cheer [n.] A loud sound expressing dislike, made by sticking out your tongue and blowing; a raspberry.
  • Brown-bag [v.] To discuss a topic at a later time, over lunch. “Let’s brown-bag your idea and get this meeting back on track.
  • Bubble it up [v.] To send an issue to the next-higher level of management. “I’ve noted your concern and I’ll bubble it up before the end of the week.”
  • Bucket shop [n.] A place where questionable deals occur.
  • Bucketize [v.] To organize information into logical groups. “Let’s take a moment to bucketize our ideas.” Horrendous.
  • Build [n.] Borrowed from software types, this term has been heard referencing a revision or addition to a piece of text. “Still working on that report? Make sure I have the latest build by this afternoon.”
  • Bullish [adj.] To be in favour of. “I’m feeling bullish about this new product.”
  • Burn grass [v.] To sit down as a group and discuss. The term may reference drugs or assumed Native American culture, but only the speaker knows for sure. “Make sure you burn grass with the engineering team this afternoon.”
  • Burn rate [n.] The speed at which a resource (usually cash) is being used up in a given company or project. “We need to get our burn rate under control, so we’re letting a few of you go.”
  • Bush league [adj.] A baseball reference describing anything amateurish or unprofessional. “That bush league secretary hung up on our biggest client while putting him on hold.”
  • Business-end [n.] The part of an object that performs an action. “I looked up from my desk and found myself staring down the business-end of a 9 millimeter.”
  • Business-macho [adj.] Describes a male office worker with his shirt opened too far at the neck — at least one button beyond what could be considered business casual. Often accented with tufts of chest hair and/or gold chains.
  • Business-provocative [adj.] Work attire that is sexy to the point of being inappropriate. “I see Kim has decided that the dress code for today is business-provocative.”
  • Buy-in [exp.] To agree with a particular position. “How can we obtain management buy-in on this idea?”
  • Buzz [n.] Excited discussion in the media and between individuals. Closely linked to word-of-mouth advertising.
  • Buzzworthy [adj.] A novel idea or product that has the potential to generate public interest in its own right. “These proposals are all terrible. Why can’t you morons come up with something buzzworthy?”

 

  • C-level [adj.] Describes the people at the top of a company that get fancy ‘C’ titles such as C.E.O., C.F.O., C.O.O.
  • Cabinet condom [n.] Tape applied to the button of a filing cabinet to prevent it from being locked (since the key has long since disappeared.)
  • Cadence [n.] A far too poetic way to describe how often a scheduled event is repeated. “If we just hit the right cadence on our sprint meetings…”
  • Cafeteria plan [n.] A package of benefits that allows the employee to make choices.
  • Calendar tickler [n.] A calendar entry with a reminder alarm. Usually sent as an Outlook meeting request.”Put a tickler on my calendar so I won’t forget to join the call.”
  • Call on the carpet [v.] To discipline.
  • Cannibalize [v.] To launch a new product that takes market share away from one’s own established products.
  • Capsizing [v.] Laying-off employees (downsizing) to the point where an organization can no longer function.
  • Captive lunch [n.] When management wheels in the sandwiches at 12pm, just when you thought you could escape to run a few errands.
  • Care [n.] Synonym for ‘concern’. Used by managers who don’t want to admit to having concerns. “I have a care about this budget decrease.”
  • Career Limiting Move (CLM) [n.] An action or comment that could hinder the future progression of one’s career.
  • Career suicide [n.] An action that causes you to lose both your current job, and any chance you’ll find another one in your field. “If you blow the whistle on this operation, it’ll be career suicide.”
  • Carpool tunnel syndrome [n.] The semi-conscious state that is the result of repeated early morning ride sharing.
  • Carrots and sticks [n.] Incentives. “If we’re going to make this sale, we need a few more carrots and sticks.”
  • Carte blanche [exp.] The freedom to make any and all decisions.
  • Cascade [v.] Disseminate, for people who aren’t comfortable saying the word disseminate.
  • CFO [n.] Chief Finagle Officer. The person who’s responsible for manipulating a company’s finances to avoid legal penalties.
  • Chainsaw consultant [n.] An individual brought in to do management’s dirty work at lay-off time and reduce the employee headcount.
  • Change agent [n.] A clever title for a consultant (or employee) who sees himself as a catalyst for improvement. Often involves encouraging the adoption of new technologies.
  • Change management [v.] The act of guiding a company through internal or external changes.
  • Charm school [n.] A derogatory term for new manager training. “After the harassment case, my boss was shipped off to charm school.”
  • Chartists [n.] Market analysts who have made a career of graphing financial data.
  • Chasing butterflies [v.] A state of distraction experienced by those who are easily distracted. “Jim never finishes anything; he’s off CB again.”
  • Chasing down smokestacks [exp.] Placing sales calls to industrial companies.
  • Checked Eskimo [v.] When a clearly unqualified individual lands a job or promotion they should have had no chance at getting, that person must have “Checked Eskimo” on the application.
  • Cheese chew [v.] Performing an unwelcome chore to please another.
  • Chicken shop [n.] A department or company that produces substandard work. “Their parts had a 20% scrap rate last quarter. I’m never dealing with that chicken shop again.”
  • Chime in [v.] A timid little way of indicating that you have a point to make. “Can I just chime in on that one?” Alternative: Just start talking.
  • Chinese fire drill [n.] A project or meeting that is characterized by frantic confusion.
  • Chinese wall [exp.] Procedures to guard information.
  • Chips and salsa [n.] Hardware and software, usually referring to computers.
  • Circle-back [v.] Revisiting an issue after it has been addressed. Using this one habitually could lead you to say something like, “I’m heading to lunch now, but we’ll circle-back later.”
  • Circular file [n.] The garbage can. “Toss that company newsletter in the circular file for me.”
  • Circular firing squad [n.] A dysfunctional group that’s on the verge of collapse because of infighting and bickering.
  • Cleans up well [adj.] Describes a technician or software developer who can actually speak with the customer without embarrassing the company.
  • Clock tower attrition [n.] Rapid-fire job cuts at the hands of an overzealous manager.
  • Clocksucker [n.] A completely unproductive employee; a waste of company money.
  • Close of play [n.] The deadline for the submission of an order or application, as spoken in parts of the world where cricket lingo and business jargon are equally familiar.
  • Coal face [n.] The department that actually works to deliver products and interact with clients. “Give me an opinion from someone at the coal face.”
  • COB [n.] Close Of Business. That magic moment that comes but once each day — quitting time.
  • Cold towel [n.] To put on hold. “Let’s cold towel your feedback until you get back next week.”
  • Color outside the lines [v.] To ignore established rules / limits of behavior. Pseudo-profound boss says, “The lines haven’t changed, your coloring has.”
  • Column-shaking [v.] Threatening to uproot the traditions (or bad habits) of a company, usually with new and unconventional ideas.
  • Come to Jesus meeting [n.] A term of southern American origin that refers to a serious meeting with an individual or team. These meetings often involve ultimatums for performance improvement.
  • Commonplate [v.] To present a topic for consideration, so that all members of a group have the same information (ostensibly, as if everyone were eating from a ‘common plate’). “Now that I’ve commonplated the issue, can we come to a reasonable decision?”
  • Community property [n.] The shared assets of a married couple.
  • Comp [adj.] The cool way to say complimentary.
  • Compliment sandwich [n.] A pointed criticism delivered between two compliments to dull the blow. Build them up, tear them down, then leave on a positive note.
  • Contemplation [n.] Thought or group consensus. “Just spoke with management and the contemplation is that we’re behind schedule.”
  • Contraction [n.] Widespread layoffs. “In order to prepare the organization for sale, all employees should brace for further contraction.”
  • Contrarian [n.] An investor who makes decisions in opposition to mainstream ideas.
  • Cook the books [v.] A fraudulent attempt to falsify company records.
  • Cookie-cutter [adj.] A generic person, product or approach. “I’m so tired of these cookie-cutter business grads. When are we going to find someone with a brain in their head?”
  • Cooperative competition [n.] A classic management oxymoron presumably referring to mutual benefits experienced by two competing firms.
  • Coopetition [n.] The ruthless struggle between an organization’s departments for limited budget dollars, staff and equipment, despite the fact that everyone involved should be supporting the overall mission. Symptoms include the hoarding of copy paper, conference room time-slots, and the IT guy.
  • Core competencies [n.] A company’s most successful skills and activities. Often leveraged.
  • Corporate memory [n.] The entire set of company files and records. “Never in corporate memory has the board been so disrespected.”
  • Cost containment [n.] An attempt to reduce expenditures.
  • Counterposing [v.] When ground-level staff outwit management by using more jargon, more pointless questions, and more vague commitments than their superiors.
  • Covered-off [adj.] Describes something that has been completed or otherwise taken care of. “Let’s make sure those requirements are covered-off.”
  • Cowboy [n.] A worker that is difficult to supervise.
  • CPB [v.] Conducting Personal Business. Using company resources and time for things that aren’t work-related (there’s a good chance you’re doing it right now).
  • CPS [n.] Cheap Plastic S***. Promotional items (often made of plastic) distributed through advertising, corporate gifts, trade shows, or other give-away programs.
  • Craft [n.] An insufferable way to refer to your line of work. “First of all, data entry is not a craft. And you’re really not much of a honer.”
  • Createalytics [n.] The art of manipulating data to support a preconceived decision.
  • Creative [n.] An art or design asset. “Call the vendor and push a rework on the creative.”
  • Critical mass [n.] 1) The point reached by a new idea or product just prior to explosive market growth. 2) The point when an issue can no longer be avoided and must be addressed immediately.
  • Criticality [n.] An extreme level of importance. Whatever your colleague meant, there’s a good chance she’s not talking about a nuclear accident. “I cannot emphasize the criticality of this issue enough.”
  • Cronyism [n.] Playing favourites among close associates.
  • Cross sabers [v.] To have a conflict.
  • Cross-pollination [n.] The generation of ideas that can occur when individuals from diverse backgrounds are brought together. “By removing your cubicle walls, we hope to cultivate the opportunity for cross-pollination.”
  • Cross-training [v.] Learning a colleague’s job so you can perform it, in addition to your own, when they disappear during vacation, maternity leave, or the latest round of layoffs.
  • Cube farm [n.] An office filled with cubicles.
  • Cubicle vultures [n.] Those who gather office supplies from the desk of a fired co-woker.
  • Customer intimacy [n.] A measure of how well a company knows its client base. Protip: Never say “customer intimacy” in front of the customer.
  • Cut the mustard [exp.] To perform adequately.
  • CYA [v.] Cover Your Ass. To exercise caution to avoid blame. “You better CYA on this one. We can’t afford the bad press.”
  • Cybernate [v.] To control via a computer.
  • Cyberslacking [v.] Wasting company time by casually browsing the Internet or instant messaging.
  • Cycle [n.] An employee’s time, broken down into sections. “I’ll have to check if she has any available cycles for this task.”

 

  • D-PAD [v.] Downloading Porn All Day. When an employee has nothing to do. “Now that the project is finished, I’m looking forward to a little D-PAD.”
  • Daily driver [n.] Functional, reliable equipment for day-to-day productivity. “The touchscreen is cute, but it won’t replace my daily driver.”
  • Data-point [n.] An area of factual inquiry.
  • De-integrate [v.] To disassemble. “We’re going to have to de-integrate the entire assembly and start from scratch.”
  • De-layering [v.] An excuse to fire every other link in the chain without reducing the total workload. (see also, Empowerment)
  • De-tune [v.] To minimize in style or message. Synonym: tone-down. “You really need to de-tune those hideous slides.”
  • Dead stick [adj.] Describes a project that has lost momentum. This is an aviation term used when a plane is on the verge of losing control.
  • Dead wood [n.] An employee that no longer contributes anything meaningful to an organization.
  • Deceptionist [n.] A receptionist whose job is actually to delay or block potential visitors. Ruthless with a polite, perfect smile.
  • Decision sniper [n.] The person that sits quietly in a meeting until just before a decision is reached, then raises a question that forces the group to reconvene later.
  • Deck [n.] A PowerPoint slide presentation. “Clean up those slides before you even think about running that deck again.”
  • Decruit [v.] A clever euphemism for firing senior employees. “The board is pushing for decruitment.”
  • Deep dive [n.] An in-depth study.
  • Deep pockets [n.] Rich investors. “We need to get a few more deep pockets involved in this venture.”
  • Deep six [exp.] A military term meaning ‘to dispose of.’
  • Deferred success [n.] A term used to postpone the declaration of failure, as if a positive result is guaranteed (just not right now). “The project was a deferred success; we’re confident that things will pick up in the next quarter.”
  • Dehire [v.] To fire.
  • Deja moo [exp.] The nagging feeling that you’ve heard this BS before.
  • Delagatorship [n.] A business entity run by someone incapable of decision-making.
  • Deliver the goods [v.] To come through on an agreement.
  • Delta [n.] Pretty much the coolest way to speak about a change or difference. “We’re talking about a 2% delta on the cap rate.”
  • Deploy [v.] Execute; release to the public. Makes the speaker feel like he’s planning D-Day instead of some insipid PR launch.
  • Descope [v.] The art of removing requirements or features from a project to make it appear completed. “The web deliverable was descoped yesterday and victory was declared.”
  • Deselect [v.] To fire or let go. “We need to deselect 5 people from your department to meet our cost targets for the year.”
  • Desk dive [n.] The painful crawl underneath your desk to unplug equipment or fetch a dropped item. Often accompanied by a few grunts if one is overweight.
  • Desk jockey [exp.] An office worker. If you’re enjoying yourself here, this might be a good name for you.
  • Deskfast [n.] Breakfast eaten at your desk.
  • Diagonal slice meeting [n.] A large meeting involving staff from several teams. Try not to think about costs as 26 people discuss their feelings.
  • Dial and smile [n.] Phone calls intended to recruit new customers.
  • Dial-in [v.] A simply terrible way to say ‘include’. “I’d like to dial-in the marketing department on this one.”
  • Dialogue [v.] To have a conversation. Another innocent noun turned into a painful verb, “Let’s dialogue later about the Miller account.”
  • Dialogue marketing [n.] A marketing strategy that intends to create a rapport with the customer.
  • Diarize [v.] To ensure that all relevant details are recorded. “Don’t pack up until these learnings are diarized.”
  • Diary forward [v.] Record new knowledge and apply it in the future. “The manager will conduct a 15 minute walk-around every day and diary this forward to cover all shifts.”
  • Different breed [adj.] Something unusual. It is often used as a derogatory reference to a person.
  • Digerati [n.] An elite group of people that know more about computers than you ever will.
  • Dime store [n.] A business selling very cheap items.
  • DINK [n.] Double Income, No Kids.
  • Dinosaur [n.] A long-term company employee whose extensive experience is only surpassed by his resistance to change.
  • Dipping your pen in company ink [v.] Having sexual relations with a coworker.
  • Directionally accurate [adj.] A terrible euphamism for describing a failed guess. “You have to admit that our conclusion was at least directionally accurate.”
  • Dirty laundry [n.] Questionable business practices or materials that an organization would prefer to remain undisclosed.
  • Dirty pool [exp.] Unethical practices. “Her lawyers are really playing dirty pool on this one.”
  • Disambiguate [v.] An ironic 5-syllable word used in place of ‘clarify.’
  • Disconnect [n.] An inconsistency or problem. Yet another example of the business world making a terrible noun out of a perfectly good verb.
  • Disimpress [v.] To reverse a favourable impression with subsequent behaviour. “We liked him after the first interview, but he really disimpressed us in the second round.”
  • Disincentivize [v.] To eliminate the motivation to make a particular choice. Use this one at your own risk.
  • Disintermediate [v.] The process of removing the middle man. Lord help us.
  • DK [n.] Short for Don’t Know. To renege on a deal by claiming that terms are missing or incorrect. “Joan DK’ed me when her options took a bath.”
  • Do the needful [exp.] A reminder to actually do the work you’re being paid for. “…and if that means coming in Sunday, we’re going to do the needful.”
  • Doability [adj.] Used to describe whether an activity can be undertaken. “I need to confirm the doability of that request.”
  • Dog [n.] A badly performing product or company.
  • Dog and pony show [n.] A presentation that’s insultingly simplistic.
  • Dog in this fight [n.] Presence in a given market. “Find out what the competition is up to, and make damn sure we get a dog in this fight.”
  • Dogfooding [v.] The practice of forcing developers to use their own product (or ‘eat their own dog food’) to understand what the customer is subjected to. One step further than product testing, this is often a good cure for engineering arrogance.
  • DOMA [exp.] Die Or Move Away. One way in which to lose customers.
  • DOMO [exp.] DOwnwardly MObile. A young person who changes their priorities and quits a high paying, demanding position.
  • Don’t f*** with payroll [exp.] Blunt advice about avoiding romantic or sexual relationships with co-workers.
  • Don’t fight the tape [exp.] Don’t oppose what the market dictates.
  • Don’t get your meat where you make your bread [exp.] A food metaphor about the perils of hooking up with coworkers.
  • Donkey work [n.] Mundane tasks requiring minimal skill to complete. “I’m so over dealing with this donkey work. Internships are the worst.”
  • Dopeler effect [exp.] The principle that stupid ideas sound better when they come at you quickly.
  • Double dip [v.] To retire, but then start another career.
  • Double-time [exp.] A military term meaning to act quickly. “Get that invoice out double-time!”
  • Dovetail [v.] To expand upon a fellow employee’s idea. Claiming it as your own is optional.
  • Down and dirty [adj.] To perform a task quickly without an immediate consideration of quality.
  • Down round [n.] A period in which a company’s value is decreasing in the eyes of investors.
  • Downsize [v.] To reduce the size of a workforce. Often begins with requests for voluntary resignations and ends with a series of layoffs.
  • Drill down [v.] To look into thoroughly. “Let’s meet this afternoon and drill down on this one.”
  • Drink from the firehose [v.] To be inundated with information.
  • Drink the Kool-aid [v.] To accept company policy without question.
  • Drive beyond the headlights [v.] To get ahead of oneself. “Stop me if I’m driving beyond my headlights here, but I want to share an amazing home-based business with you that could change your life.”
  • Drop-dead date [n.] The REAL deadline. Missing it often means dire consequences.
  • Dropping packets [v.] A state of forgetfulness caused by burnout or lack of sleep. “You hungover again? You’ve been dropping packets all morning…”
  • Dub-dub-dub [n.] A quicker (and nerdier) way to refer to the beginning of a website address or the world wide web in general. “You have to check out dub-dub-dub dot…”
  • Duck shove [AUS-n.] The act of passing an undesirable job or inquiry to an unsuspecting third party. “I just duck shoved all the paperwork to Jonathon.”
  • Duck shuffler [n.] Someone who disrupts your affairs after you’ve finally gotten all your ‘ducks in a row.’
  • Ducks in a row [exp.] To become organized.
  • Due Diligence [n.] The thoroughness required to ensure success in business decision-making.

 

  • Ear candy [n.] Flattery.
  • Ear job [n.] The act of passing on some juicy company gossip verbally, and in private. “I’m just running into a meeting, but I’ll give you an ear job later.”
  • Easy mark [n.] A person that is not difficult to cheat.
  • Eat a reality sandwich [exp.] An ‘action’ necessary when one’s ideas are completely inappropriate for the given situation. “I can’t believe your last suggestion. You better eat a reality sandwich before you walk back in that boardroom.”
  • Eat drink sleep [v.] Complete and total dedication to a role. “…but my real passion is market segmentation. I eat drink and sleep analytics.”
  • Eat the frog [v.] To complete an unpleasant job that has been well procrastinated. “Just eat the frog and get on with it!”
  • Econometrics [n.] Known by consultants to be the act of simply plugging numbers into a pre-made spreadsheet, yet externally marketed (to those who won’t ask detailed questions) as a highly scientific analytic modeling exercise performed by economists and industry-specific experts.
  • Economical with the truth [adj.] An aggravating euphemism for lying. “My esteemed colleague may not in fact realize he is being economical with the truth!!”
  • Ego surfing [v.] Searching the web for references to yourself. Come on, you know you’ve tried it.
  • Eighty-six [v.] To dispose of. “We have to eighty-six these documents or we’ll all be crucified.”
  • Elephants [n.] Large investment groups that tend to move together.
  • Eleventh hour [exp.] The last moment.
  • Empty suits [n.] Unthinking middle management.
  • Enabler [n.] Something that must be in place before something else can occur.
  • Enail [n.] An email sent for the sole purpose of making a point in writing, usually at another person’s expense. Most effective when cc’ed to as many senior people as possible.
  • Enculturate [v.] To make something part of daily office life.
  • Enthuse [v.] To inspire enthusiasm (or attempt to). “I’m still looking for a way to enthuse the new hires.”
  • Entremanure [n.] A self employed risk-taker that can’t catch a break. Everything he touches turns to sh*t.
  • EPON [n.] Endless Pit Of Need. A colleague who continually seeks support for their ongoing personal and professional problems.
  • Evangelize [v.] To promote a product with the enthusiasm of a true believer. “We need distributors to evangelize the new line in the local markets.”
  • Even dead cats bounce [exp.] Even worthless things can rise in value again.
  • Exploding offer [n.] A job offer that expires after a certain date.
  • Extract the max [v.] To achieve the highest level of productivity possible while directing a group of people. “I hope my management style will extract the max from each and every one of you.”
  • Extrapediately [adv.] Faster than ASAP and quicker than STAT, this made-up word is saved for when a task must be accomplished almost instantaneously.
  • Extraview [n.] A second interview you feel obliged to hold even though the position has already been filled. Can also be scheduled when the candidate is just so damn hot.

 

  • f/u [n.] Shorthand for follow-up. Use w/ caution. “Make sure your whole team’s prepared for the f/u.”
  • F2F [exp.] A really cute way of saying face-to-face.
  • Face time [n.] 1) The opportunity to sit down to discuss an issue in person. “I’ve been trying to get a little face time with the boss to go over this proposal, but she keeps blowing me off.” 2) Unproductive time spent at the office meant to project the image that you’re a hardworking employee.
  • Facipulate [v.] An unfortunate mix of ‘facilitate’ and ‘manipulate’, this contrived verb refers to influencing the course of a discussion by indirectly promoting particular lines of thought.
  • Fact pattern [n.] A set of supporting evidence. “Mary keeps calling in sick on the day of the sales presentations. Interesting fact pattern, don’t you think?”
  • Fairy dust [n.] The finishing touches on a project. “Sprinkle the fairy dust on that one for me, will ya?”
  • Faker’s dozen [n.] When someone calls out sick twelve times during a term, they’ve pulled off the “faker’s dozen”.
  • Fall guy [n.] A scapegoat. After the buck is passed through the entire organization, it stops at this unfortunate person.
  • Fallen angels [n.] Investments that once performed well but have declined in value.
  • Faulty-tasking [v.] Taking on responsibilities to the point of being unacceptably error-prone at one or all of them.
  • Featherbedding [v.] Keeping jobs that aren’t needed in order to please the union.
  • Feature creep [v.] The tendency to continually add more features during the development of a product.
  • Feeding frenzy [n.] Intense buying by consumers.
  • Feeding the gorilla [v.] Making sure the core part of your business is satisfied while you do more important or interesting things.
  • Fenestration [n.] Windows. Please, please just say windows. “This 10th floor rental unit has excellent fenestration.”
  • File thirteen [n.] The garbage can.
  • Financial slack [n.] The cash buffer that sustains operations until funding can be secured. “We’re looking at 3 months FS, tops.”
  • Finger in the wind [exp.] To reach a decision arbitrarily, with no clear rationale. “Don’t put your finger in the wind and call it due diligence.”
  • Finger-of-blame [n.] An arbitrary method for selecting the person who will take responsibility for a mistake. Used most accurately when the blame is out of proportion with the actual error. “Uh-oh… the finger-of-blame finds … YOU!”
  • Fire away [exp.] Proceed whenever you’re ready.
  • Fire fighting [v.] Addressing a problem that must be solved immediately. “We’ve been fire fighting since last quarter’s numbers were released.”
  • Firestarter [n.] Someone known for inventing / exaggerating problems, then calling countless meetings to find a solution and be the hero.
  • Fish or cut bait [exp.] To be forced to make a decision. “We’re getting to the point where we have to either fish or cut bait on this one.”
  • Fishbowl [exp.] To be in the public spotlight.
  • Fishing expedition [n.] 1) A fact-finding mission. 2) A concerted effort to find something — anything — wrong.
  • Fit for purpose [adj.] Any good. “We need to evaluate whether this new software is fit for purpose.”
  • Flavor of the month [n.] The most recent fad to hit Corporate America. Social-buying bubble, amirite?
  • Flight risk [n.] An employee that is thought to be considering quitting.
  • Flub [v.] To miss.
  • Fluff it and fly it [v.] To make cosmetic improvements and then sell an item.
  • Flunky [n.] A worker at the bottom of the corporate food chain.
  • Flush [adj.] Possessing a large amount of money.
  • Fly-tipper [UK] [n.] A manager who avoids confrontation by quietly dumping work on the desks of his team members when they’re not around.
  • Flying a kite [v.] Initiating a project with no defined end point. Or starting point.
  • Flying circus [n.] A flight by company management to inspect local operations.
  • Followship [n.] The prized ability to obey direction without question. “Great followship leads to great leadership.”
  • Food chain [n.] An organization’s hierarchy. “I’m going to send this up the food chain for approval.”
  • Foot on the ball time [UK-n.] Borrowed from football, this is a chance to pause and gain control of a situation. “If you don’t give me a little more foot on the ball time, I’m going to blow this presentation.”
  • Foreseeable future [n.] A conveniently flexible period of upcoming time that is often spoken about by management.
  • Former life [n.] A clever way for speakers to refer to prior career positions. Most hilarious when their current job is drastically different in terms of field or seniority. “In a former life, I sold insurance door-to-door.”
  • Free cell [n.] An empty cubicle that was formerly inhabited by someone who played one too many games of Free Cell.
  • Free lunch [n.] Something for nothing.
  • Free seminar [n.] A sales presentation disguised as useful information.
  • From a ___ perspective [adj.] Three words of unnecessary padding around the subject at hand. “We’re low on toner, from an office supplies perspective.”
  • Front burner [n.] The opposite of back burner, obviously. Reserved for the most pressing matters. Please just don’t use either.
  • FUBAR [adj.] F***ed Up Beyond All Repair.
  • FUD factor [n.] The amount of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt created in a customer during the sales process (which is then conveniently addressed by your product or service).
  • Full optics [n.] A complete view. “We don’t have full optics on the situation presently.”
  • Full-court press [n.] A term borrowed from basketball that is used to describe a maximum effort. “If we’re going to regain our market share, we need a full-court press from your sales staff.”
  • Function [v.] To complete a task or action item. “Bob, make sure you function the inbox and delegate accordingly before leaving today.
  • Future-proof [adj.] A product that is claimed to be resistant to obsolescence.

 

  • Gain traction [v.] To increase market share.
  • Game plan [n.] A sports term referring to a predetermined strategy.
  • Game-changing [adj.] A sports term describing a critical point with the potential to alter the overall outcome. “Our plan to transition from products to solutions is a game-changing moment for our company.”
  • Gatekeeper [n.] A person within an organization that controls the flow of information to and from managers. Can often be valuable friends.
  • Gazump [v.] To increase the price of an item after an agreement has been made.
  • Geek out [v.] To spend time on a project to the point of ridiculousness. “Just let him geek out on that while we get the actual work done.”
  • Generica [n.] The parts of the US that are so overrun with national franchises, that it’s impossible to tell one city from another.
  • Geography [n.] Sales region. “No way I can make that 4 o’clock. It’s clear across my geography.”
  • Gerbil tubes [n.] The covered walkways that connect buildings on a large campus.
  • Get into bed [v.] Beginning a close business relationship with a client or vendor. “I want to feel out their business plan before getting into bed.”
  • Get the axe [v.] To be fired.
  • Get-go [n.] The beginning. “We need alignment on strategy from the get-go.”
  • Ghost work [n.] The uncompleted tasks that laid off employees leave for the rest.
  • Gisted [v.] To provide a summary. “Don’t forget that I want those reports gisted before they reach my desk.”
  • Give the dog a bone [n.] The practice of putting an obvious error into a report for the boss to find, in order to appease the type that MUST make changes. Can help curtail changes to important things and satisfy his micromanagerial urges.
  • Give the nod [exp.] To approve of a course of action.
  • Glad-handing [v.] To shake hands with all present. “If you’re finished glad-handing around the room, we can get started here.”
  • Glass ceiling [n.] The invisible barrier to career progression that is sometimes experienced by minorities and women.
  • Glide-path [n.] A multi-purpose rubbish phrase indicating the expected trajectory of unknown outcomes. “Let’s discuss the expected glide-path on that asset allocation at tomorrow’s meeting.”
  • Go suit [v.] To be promoted to a management position and forget your technical roots (and possibly skills).
  • Go-live [n.] The public debut of a project. “Fifteen days till go-live, people. Get it done.”
  • Goat rodeo [n.] An especially chaotic meeting or event. “The last earning’s call was a complete goat rodeo.”
  • Gofer [n.] A subordinate worker who is often given menial tasks.
  • Going forward [exp.] Looking toward the future. Usually serves to simply add two filler words to the start of your sentence. “Going forward, we see earnings improving in core markets in Latin America, with even better results in the expanding Asian markets.”
  • Goldbricker [n.] An employee who works harder at looking valuable than actually contributing.
  • Golden goose [n.] A company’s most highly valued asset.
  • Golden handcuffs [n.] Monetary incentives used to retain executives.
  • Golden parachute [n.] A generous compensation package. Often given to executives after they are layed-off.
  • GOOD job [n.] A “Get-Out-Of-Debt” job. A well-paying job people take in order to pay off their debts, one that they will quit as soon as they are solvent again.
  • Good-to-go [adj.] A person, place or thing that is ready. A good rule of thumb: If it’s your teenager’s favourite expression, it doesn’t belong at work.
  • Goodness [n.] Elements of quality. “There is much goodness in your proposal.” Uggh.
  • Gracious Space [n.] A safe, supportive setting where all can feel comfortable, warm… creative. And nobody ever challenges your PC worldview.
  • Granular [adj.] In excessive detail. “Summarize this for me, you’re being to granular.” Ugh.
  • Grassroots [adj.] Built from the bottom up, without any formal training or organization. Suck on that, elitists!
  • Gravy [n.] 1) Any additional benefits above and beyond the expected outcome. 2) A boon or windfall. “If we peak above the forecasted earnings, we’re talking pure gravy.”
  • Grease [v.] To bribe.
  • Grease the skids [v.] To give advance notice to a select group before public action is taken. “Let’s connect over breakfast so I can grease the skids before the board votes.”
  • Greater fool theory [exp.] The idea that there is always someone willing to pay a higher (and totally unreasonable) price.
  • Green field [adj.] Virgin territory. A client that has never used your product nor anything like it.
  • Green-field thinking [n.] Considering an area of potential innovation. “Why don’t you drop the green-field thinking and clearly define what we are already doing.”
  • Greenwashing [v.] Claimed environmental practices that are nothing more than PR fluff.
  • Grey-sourcing [v.] Hiring ancient programmers to support equally ancient IT systems.

 

  • Hack it [v.] To be successful. “Do you think she can hack it?”
  • Halo effect [exp.] The idea that past experiences can affect future decisions.
  • Hammer out [v.] To reach a consensus after a long debate.
  • Hammock task [n.] An assignment with very little work or responsibility. “If you stop giving me hammock tasks, maybe I could earn that raise.”
  • Hand-grenade close [adj.] Roughly on-target, but with room for error. “Just get those numbers hand-grenade close and the client won’t know the difference.”
  • Hand-holding [v.] Helping someone perform a task that, because of inexperience or incompetence, they cannot complete on their own. “I am so sick of hand-holding the new guy through all of our billing procedures.”
  • Hang the bell on the cat [v.] Deliberate risk-taking and leadership. “Trade secrets be damned. Bell the cat and get our name out there.”
  • Hard hat [n.] A derogatory term for a manual labourer. “This new robot will let us axe three hard hats.”
  • Hard stop [n.] The definite end of a meeting that is often announced beforehand. “The client is visiting this afternoon so we have a hard stop at two.”
  • Hard-nosed [adj.] Stubborn. Often difficult to work with.
  • Hardball [n.] Aggressive business tactics.
  • Hatchet man [n.] A low-ranking manager given the task of firing people.
  • Haul [n.] A large amount of money.
  • Head shed [n.] The offices of top company leadership. “…well if you’re so convinced, why don’t you ride on up to the head shed and demand an audience?”
  • Head shunting [v.] The secret hiring of a head hunter to persuade an ineffectual employee to take a position at another firm. Nicely eliminates the mess of having to fire someone.
  • Head winds [n.] Factors that slow progress. Also a convenient way to externalize the blame for project delays.
  • Head-count freeze [exp.] A lack of available jobs at a given company.
  • Head-down [adj.] Describes the process of working completely uninterrupted. “I have a client meeting in two hours so I’m going to be head-down and not taking any calls.”
  • headdesk [n.] One’s inevitable reaction to poor treatment or abject stupidity in the workplace. “YOU: Looks like those raises are going to be delayed another three months. ME: headdesk.”
  • Headlight [v.] To bring up a topic for discussion before it becomes a greater issue.
  • Headline [n.] A single sentence summary. “Look Charles, I’m going to give you the headline: We’re downsizing and tomorrow is your last day.”
  • Heads up [n.] A notification or early warning. “I just wanted to give you the heads up about the latest contracts.”
  • Heavy lifting [n.] The hard work.
  • Helicopter view [n.] An overview or summary of an issue. “I’ve got 30 seconds so give me the helicopter view.”
  • Her-assment [v.] Sexual harassment by a woman.
  • Herding cats [exp.] A difficult course of action. “Motivating you people is like herding cats!”
  • Heritage [n.] The markets and business practices that have been a part of an organization since its inception. “If we don’t evolve from our heritage, we’ll be insolvent within a year.”
  • Heyday [n.] The best of times.
  • High-wire act [n.] A risky business situation.
  • HiPo [adj.] High Potential. “Word on the street is that he went to Wharton… I’m thinking HiPo.”
  • HiPPO [v.] Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. The deciding factor in workplace arguments. “What can we do to get HIPPO buy-in on this layout.
  • Hired guns [n.] Specialized professionals hired by an organization.
  • Hit the fan [v.] When a situation gets out of control.
  • Homing from work [v.] Using technology to keep in touch with personal concerns while at work.
  • Horizontal [n.] A shortened version of another buzzword, ‘horizontal market.’ In this context it refers to a product that benefits a wide range of companies/industries. “We have several horizontals with the potential to become serious revenue streams.”
  • Hosed [adj.] 1) Non-functional, usually in reference to technology. 2) In deep trouble. “If we can’t get these reports printed before this afternoon’s meeting, we’re hosed.”
  • Hot buttons [exp.] A management idea that each employee should be responsible for decision-making.
  • Hot under the collar [exp.] Angry.
  • Hot-desking [v.] The practice of having a group of employees share a section on unassigned desks.
  • Hum a few bars [v.] A request to provide a verbal summary. “Your report was far too long. Can you hum a few bars?”
  • Human capital [n.] A new way of referring to employees as living assets.
  • Hump day [n.] The middle of the week (Wednesday). Settle down.
  • Hunker-down [adj.] To prepare for difficult business challenges ahead. “We need to hunker-down for the next round of plant shut-downs at GM.”
  • Hush money [n.] A bribe to ensure that certain information isn’t revealed publicly.
  • Hypertasking [v.] The practice of combining several unrelated activities into one. This often blurs the lines between personal and professional time.

 

  • I hate to say “I told you so” [exp.] I told you so.
  • Idea hamsters [n.] People who always seem to have new ideas.
  • Idea shower [n.] A creative group exercise where suggestions are made in rapid succession. Creeper boss says, “Shower me… with ideas.”
  • Ideation [n.] An overused portmanteau of “idea” and “creation”. Psychologists have a legitimate use for this word. You probably don’t.
  • Ignoranus [n.] Someone who is both stupid and an a**hole.
  • Imagineer [v.] A contraction of “imagine” and “engineer” used to describe the wasting of time and money to develop an unnecessary solution to some non-existent business problem.
  • Impactful [adj.] Having a large effect. An ugly, ugly extension of the word ‘impact.’
  • In the black [adj.] Profitable.
  • In the cards [exp.] A likely outcome.
  • Incent [v.] To encourage an action by suggesting a reward. A particularly terrible verb created from the noun incentive. “I think we can incent investors to get on-board with this one.”
  • Income not IF-come [exp.] A business needs cash, not the promise of cash.
  • Industrial vacation [n.] A business trip to a desirable location that is loosely related to business. Usually requires participants to arrive a few days early to “prepare” and stay a few days after to “wrap-up.”
  • Insourcing [v.] The practice of looking within one’s company for someone with required skills.
  • Interface [v.] To communicate. “Can we interface just before lunch?”
  • Interlock [v.] Meeting in order to coordinate. “Stop by my office and we’ll interlock later.”
  • Into the weeds [exp.] Presenting technical details during a discussion when the purpose was to stay at a basic overview level. “During the meeting, she dove way down into the weeds when describing the interface requirements.”
  • Involuntary reduction in force [exp.] A round of firings made after requesting that people volunteer to quit.
  • Irregardless [adj.] A false merger of regardless and irrespective; incorrectly used in lieu of either.
  • Issue [n.] In the positive, affirming workplace the word ‘problem’ is swapped for the much more diplomatic ‘issue’. “Houston, we have an issue.”
  • Issues around [exp.] Replaces the much more direct, ‘problems with’. “There are issues around Iraq.”
  • ITL [adj.] In The Loop. Describes an awareness of key issues. “Bring me up to speed. I’m not ITL on this one.”

 

  • Jargon basement [adj.] The worst of the worst, nails-on-a-chalkboard jargon.
  • Jargonaut [n.] A true master of ridiculous jargon, this individual has a ‘robust’ vocabulary, but none of it means anything.
  • Jawbone [v.] To talk someone into doing something.
  • JDI [n.] Just Do It. Something that your boss believes any reasonable person could complete quickly and simply. “End of discussion. This is a JDI; get it done!”
  • Jingle [n.] A phone call. “Just give me a jingle before you head home today.”
  • Job lock [exp.] Employees that want to leave their jobs, but don’t want to lose their benefits.
  • Job-ready [adj.] A potential employee that has the right qualities.
  • Jobstopper [n.] A tattoo on a part of the body that isn’t covered by business-casual.
  • Jockey for position [v.] To sell oneself to gain a larger market share.
  • John Hancock [n.] Signature. “We just need your John Hancock on these forms.”
  • Johnny-come-lately [n.] A late entrant into a particular market.
  • Juice [n.] Connections, influence.
  • Juice moment [n.] Giving direction with a patronizing amount of detail, as if speaking to little children. Don’t forget your juice, kids.
  • Jump the couch [exp.] When unpredictable or strange behaviour has a negative impact on one’s reputation. Thanks for this one, Tom.
  • Jumped the shark [adj.] A good grounding in pop culture slang is required to know this term meaning that something has passed its prime.
  • Junior leaguers [n.] Rich and unemployed young women.

 

  • Kabuki Dance [n.] An elaborate display with no real substance; an artful deception. Currently making the transition from pompous political jargon to pompous corporate jargon. “Can you believe the Kabuki Dance they’re calling journalism these days?”
  • Keep your powder dry [v.] To hold back information or any other leverage for use at a later date. “I want to keep our powder dry here; don’t mention the foreign accounts unless they ask.”
  • Keepage [n.] The opposite of garbage.
  • Keyboard plaque [n.] The collection of greasy dirt that builds up on keyboards.
  • Kicker [n.] Something added to a deal to make it more attractive.
  • Kicking goals [AUS-exp.] Borrowed from Australian Rules football, this expression refers to the achievement of good results, especially in reference to sales. “OK boys, it’s time to get busy on the phones and start kicking goals.”
  • Kid gloves [exp.] Handled with care and delicacy. “This is a sensitive topic so you better get out the kid gloves.”
  • Killer app [n.] A piece of software that excites the industry in ways that it’s never known.
  • Kilting [v.] To make preparations for the Scottish market.
  • KISS [exp.] Keep It Simple, Stupid!
  • Knowledge density [n.] A vague measure of expertise. “Sorry, I don’t have the knowledge density to address that” = I have no clue.
  • Knowledge growth [n.] The amount learned in a given period of time. “This roleplaying exercise should capture your knowledge growth.”
  • Kowtow [v.] To defer to or to pamper.
  • KT [n.] Knowledge Transfer. The exchange of information between outgoing employees and their eager replacements. “We had better schedule some KT before half our trade secrets walk out the door.
  • Kudos [n.] Congratulations.
  • Kumbaya [adj.] Saccharine and non-confrontational. Peace, love, harmony, etc. “I don’t have time for this kumbaya bulls**t.”

 

  • Language [n.] Text or content. “You need to rework the language on the Broker portal.”
  • Languaged [v.] Composed a document. “I’m happy to see that you finally languaged the new protocol.”
  • Last man standing [n.] The senior-most employee remaining after a round of executive lay-offs. The LMS usually inherits a set of responsibilities that he is totally unqualified to perform.
  • Lateraled [v.] To be transferred to another position at your current level. “Instead of the promotion I wanted, I was lateraled to another division.”
  • Lawyer up [v.] Assembling a team of attorneys, usually after PR efforts have failed to sway public opinion.
  • Lay of the land [n.] The current state of things. “What’s the lay of the land up your way?”
  • Lead balloon [n.] A complete failure.
  • Lean in [n.] The act of appearing engaged and motivated, when you actually just want to throw up.
  • Learnings [n.] New knowledge gained from a given experience. “Post-mortem, what are the learnings we can take away from this exercise?”
  • Leave-behind [n.] Information presented on a sheet of paper. “Make sure you really sell it with the trade show leave-behind.”
  • Left lane [v.] To accelerate a project. “I’ll need to requisition more personnel to left lane your ideas.”
  • Left-handed compliment [n.] Congratulations that are actually subtle insults.
  • Legal scrub [exp.] Having a lawyer re-word a document to reduce the risk of future legal action.
  • Lens [n.] A point of view; a corporate microscope. “I want to make sure that we’re looking at this through the right lens.”
  • Let it drip [v.] Allowing time for a new idea to become known and understood. “Let it drip a little longer and you won’t shock the board again.”
  • Level-set [v.] To ensure that everyone is at the same ‘level’ of understanding. “You better level-set your team before you send them on-site.”
  • Leverage [v.] To utilize a resource. A list of the worst business jargon would, of course, be incomplete without it.
  • Lick and a promise [exp.] Insufficient preparation. “Tom sent me into the shareholder’s meeting with nothing but a lick and a promise.”
  • Lifehack [n.] Any method of improving one’s productivity or quality of life. “I’ve discovered this great lifehack that lets me sleep less, but have much more energy.”
  • Lightning rod [n.] An individual that is a common target.
  • Lights-on initiative [n.] A key project that is necessary to keep the business afloat, or the ‘lights on’. “Until further notice, I need every soul committed to our lights-on initiatives.
  • LIHOM [n.] Legend In His/her Own Mind.
  • Line of sight [n.] A clear view of the goal/target. It helps bring a little “combat experience” to the boardroom.
  • Link in [v.] To connect or consult with others. Second tier jargon from a second tier social network.
  • Lipstick on a pig [exp.] An attempt to put a favourable spin on a negative situation. “Tim’s sales numbers are terrible. Even he can’t put lipstick on that pig.”
  • Locked and loaded [adj.] Ready to execute a plan or contract. Best used to describe clients who are flush with cash and/or wasted drunk.
  • LOMBARD [n.] Lots Of Money But A Real Dumbass.
  • Long con [n.] Working for years at a job you should have never been hired for, without any oversight, accountability, or line of communication.
  • Long-game [adj.] In the long term. “See, I understand how things work Long-Game.”
  • Loop-in [v.] To apprise. “Loop me in on the latest market numbers.”
  • Loose-Tight model [n.] An excuse to avoid the work of defining guidelines/boundaries, but then blocking suggestions out of perceived risk and fear.
  • Lose the bubble [v.] To forget about or neglect. “I’ve lost the bubble on the Henderson account. Where do we stand?”
  • Lost in the sauce [adj.] Describes someone lacking direction and a clear job definition. “Make sure the new recruits don’t get lost in the sauce.”
  • Low decision latitude [exp.] The inability to make any important choices. Usually a consequence of being the guy at the bottom of the corporate food chain.
  • Low-ball [n.] A very low quote.
  • Low-hanging fruit [n.] Markets in which customers can be easily found.
  • Luck surface area [n.] Conscious efforts to increase the likelihood of positive chance events. Pseudo-profound boss says, “Cultivate serendipity by expanding your luck surface area.”
  • Luddites [n.] An individual who feels that new technology will put their job in jeopardy.
  • Lunch and Learn [n.] A management trick for adding an extra hour to your workday by holding meetings during lunch. A food bribe may be offered.

 

  • Macromanager [n.] A manager that tries to direct matters outside of her department.
  • Mad money [n.] Cash that is saved and spent unpredictably.
  • Magic bullet [n.] The perfect solution to a given business problem. Unfortunately, it can’t be used to shoot the person dropping terms like this.
  • Major player [n.] A person of influence and power within a given group. “So who are the major players at the table?”
  • Make waves [v.] To cause conflict or argument.
  • Making sausage [v.] When employees discuss potential financial gains from a customer, in the presence of the customer. “The next time I catch you making sausage in front of a client, you’re fired.”
  • Malicious obedience [n.] The act of following a boss’s instructions explicitly, while hoping for failure. It can also involve remaining quiet about any discovered mistakes or poor judgement.
  • Management porn [n.] A long slide presentation of useless facts and figures, created to distract managers and give them something to salivate over.
  • Marinate [v.] To allow some time to consider an idea privately. “I’ll just let that one marinate… Catch you on the circle back tomorrow am.”
  • Market-facing [adj.] A role that requires interaction with clients. Contrast with the funny looking bunch relegated to the back office.
  • Marketecture [n.] Technical advertising, usually including diagrams. “Make sure their techies get our latest piece of marketecture.”
  • Matrices [n.] A random diagram used to justify dubious calculations. “If we pause to consider the matrices…”
  • Matrix team [n.] A group assembled from diverse departments to solve a complex problem. “Pull in the matrix team so we’re buttoned up soup-to-nuts.”
  • McJob [n.] A demeaning or low ranking position.
  • Meanderthal [n.] A person who has difficulty expressing themselves succinctly. They often give long, unfocused presentations.
  • Meat and potatoes [v.] Basic or traditional. “Your meat and potatoes approach isn’t going to work with this crowd.”
  • Meat on the bone [n.] Profits. “Give me a month. One good land will put more meat on the bone.”
  • Meeternity [n.] Unproductive meetings that appear to go on incessantly. “That mandatory policies and procedures update was a meeternity.”
  • Meeting assassin [n.] Someone who hijacks a meeting with excessive questions or endless follow-on observations. See also: Dr. Freeze.
  • Melt-down [n.] Complete product failure.
  • Meritocracy [n.] An organization in which the success of individuals is claimed to be based on their aptitude, or merit.
  • Meta ignorance [n.] Being unaware of what you don’t know. A common problem for managers and politicians.
  • Mickey Mouse [adj.] A trivial solution.
  • Milk [v.] To take advantage of a favourable situation. “Andrea’s really milking the fact that she’s the boss’s daughter.
  • Mission critical [adj.] Something that is vital to the success of your business. Easy on the army lingo, soldier.
  • Mom-and-pop [n.] A small-time operation.
  • Mommy track [n.] The dead-end career path on which those with family responsibilities sometimes find themselves.
  • Monday morning quarterback [n.] A person who offers criticism only after something negative has occurred.
  • Mouse potato [n.] The modern cousin of the couch potato. They typically spend hour after hour in front of the computer.
  • Move the needle [v.] Increasing activity to complete a project faster. “You talk about efficiency, but when are you going to actually move the needle?”
  • Move things forward [v.] A generic way of saying ‘get something done’, without actually having to think about what that entails.
  • Moving the goal posts [v.] Changing the parameters of an ongoing project. “How can we hope to deliver on time if the client keeps moving the goal posts?”
  • Mucus trooper [n.] Your colleague that always gets the worst colds, yet still makes it in to work to cough it all over you.
  • Multi-slacker [n.] A person who can perform many unproductive things at the same time. These include phone conversations, instant messaging, and web surfing, often on company time.
  • Muppet shuffle [v.] The shifting of under-performing or troublesome employees to other unsuspecting departments.
  • Mushroom principle [n.] A management practice that involves keeping subordinates in the dark and feeding them s***.
  • My understanding [n.] A fine bit of rhetoric that avoids committing to a yes/no answer. “Is it black or white? Well my understanding is black.”

 

  • Nail jelly to the hothouse wall [v.] To achieve the impossible.
  • Negatron [n.] A person who sees the downside in every situation. (See, Negative Nancy). “OK Negatron, why don’t you contribute something constructive for once.”
  • Net-net [n.] The verbally communicated summary of a lengthy event. “Just give me the net-net of your conversation with the client.”
  • New guy gene [n.] The polite and friendly attitude that most new employees show, at least until they learn what they can get away with.
  • News sandwich [n.] A lunch break spent catching up with the latest online news instead of actually eating. Headlines = White collar crack.
  • NIMBY [exp.] Not In My BackYard.
  • Ninth inning [adj.] A term borrowed from baseball which refers to the last minute. “That takeover bid was completely ninth inning.”
  • No scraps hit the floor [exp.] Competitors will always replace inefficient firms.
  • Nontreprenuer [n.] An executive who demands growth from his team, but is afraid of taking risks.
  • Noodle [v.] To think about an issue. “Let me noodle it over this week and I’ll get back to you.”
  • North of [adj.] More than. “Our latest sales figures were north of the 1 million dollar mark.”
  • Not my first rodeo [exp.] Implies deep experience. The speaker wants you to acknowledge this, but likely still expects you to do all the work.
  • Not the long pole in my tent [adj.] Something of relatively low importance.
  • Not wearing trunks [adj.] The liars exposed when the true nature of a group is revealed. You have to drain the pool to see who forgot their suit. “If the Euro collapse gains traction, we’ll be looking at a lot of bathers not wearing trunks.”
  • Nut-up [v.] To gather one’s courage. “Just nut-up and finish the presentation!”

 

  • O ho [n.] Office wHOre.
  • O’clock [n.] Shorthand for a meeting at a specific time. “I can’t touch my 3 o’clock so let’s call this a hard stop.”
  • O’dark thirty [n.] Far too early in the morning. “So the boss calls up and schedules a meeting for O’dark thirty.”
  • Obstacolleague [n.] A co-worker whose inability to work well forces neglect of personal duties to fix theirs. “My extra work was from two obstacolleagues that I had to fix what they already fixed.”
  • Office pretty [adj.] A female coworker that is attractive only in comparison to others at the office. “After I ran into Helen at a restaurant, I realized she was just office pretty.”
  • Offline [adj.] Used in business meetings to mean later, in private. “Let’s dialogue about these issues offline.”
  • Old boys club [n.] A tight network of longstanding business relationships.
  • On point [adj.] A military term referring to the first and primary person involved in a given situation. “You’re on point tomorrow with the Mexican clients.”
  • On the air [adj.] Reachable by email or phone via a mobile device. “I’m out of the office but I’ll be on the air all afternoon.”
  • On the carpet [adj.] In trouble. “I called Johnson on the carpet the other day; he really tanked in that meeting with the client.”
  • On the cheap [exp.] To do something at a low cost. “No expense account for this trip. We’re going to have to do it on the cheap.”
  • On the map [adj.] Well known.
  • On the take [exp.] Accepting unethical money.
  • On your plate [exp.] The work currently assigned to a given employee.
  • Onboarding [v.] 1) The process of garnering support for a project. 2) Familiarizing a new hire, which often includes orientation, filling out tax forms, training, obtaining key cards, etc.
  • One throat to choke [exp.] Dealing with one large supplier for many items. Then if something goes wrong, there is only company to rage at.
  • One-man show [n.] A business with a single proprietor.
  • One-two punch [n.] A boxing term meaning two actions taken immediately after each other.
  • Open skies [adj.] Universally available.
  • Open the kimono [v.] Revealing confidential business information. The term would probably be more offensive if it wasn’t usually one overweight, middle-aged man asking another to open his kimono. “You’ll have to open the kimono on your IP before engineering will sign off on the deal.”
  • Operationalize [v.] To do. Now was that so hard?
  • OPM [n.] Other People’s Money. You down with OPM?
  • Optics [n.] How something appears. “I understand the optics of this situation, but despite how it looks, we have not acted inappropriately.”
  • Org chart [n.] A graphical representation of an organization’s hierarchy. “If there’s only two people above me on the org chart, why do I have six telling me what to do?”
  • Organic growth [n.] 1) Dry economic concept. 2) Expanding a business from within using existing drones… and nepotism!
  • Organizational awareness [n.] Familiarity with the things that are (or supposed to be) commonly known throughout an organization. “What do you mean you don’t have our mission statement memorized?”
  • Organizational DNA [n.] A cute analogy relating the four basic units of genetic code with the elements of successful management. Some call these “decision rights, information, motivators, and structure”, others, “factual, conceptual, contextual, and individual,” but both are guilty of repackaging established knowledge under a trendy new buzzword.
  • Organogram [n.] Organization chart. “Where would you place yourself on the organogram in the near-term?”
  • OT mail [n.] OverTime-mail. The practice of sending your boss a superfluous email, to indirectly let him know how late you were working.
  • Out of the box [exp.] Describes the abilities of a product immediately after purchase without any upgrades or integration. “What can this software do out of the box?”
  • Out of the woodwork [exp.] A surprise appearance.
  • Out-of-pocket [adj.] Unreachable. “I’m boarding the plane, so I’ll be out-of-pocket for a few hours.”
  • Outbeat [v.] Like beating a competitor… but more so, apparently. “Hammer your leads and outbeat those clowns.”
  • Outside the box [exp.] A creative solution that avoids a traditional or common approach. A little ironic as nothing makes you sound more ‘in the box’ than mindlessly repeating business jargon.
  • Over-the-shoulder time [n.] An informal training or review session conducted in-person. “Drop by my office for a little over-the-shoulder time.”
  • Ownership [n.] An employee’s realization that he is responsible for the success of a given endeavour. You may even convince him that it was his idea in the first place.
  • Oxygen-move [n.] The act of ‘breathing new life’ into a project or business. “Your team’s productivity is down; we need an oxygen-move to keep things moving forward.”

 

  • P*ssing in the ocean [v.] An action that is hopelessly trivial or meaningless. “Without the right equipment, we might as well be PITO.”
  • PAC [adj.] Perfectly absolutely clear. “… and I want to be completely P A C on this.” That is some fine abbreviation irony, right there.
  • Pacesetter [n.] A product or company that dictates market standards.
  • PanAm [v.] To take over; hijack. “We were enjoying a casual, light-hearted lunch until Donna came by and totally PanAm’d it with her work talk.”
  • Paper [v.] To document a position or transaction. “We verbally agreed to a rebate, but it hasn’t been papered yet.”
  • Paper shredder [n.] Another on the long list of derogatory ways to refer to accountants.
  • Papercut [n.] A minor negative impact. “Five reps called out this morning so expect a few papercuts when the call volume spikes.”
  • Parachute in [v.] To send someone to complete work at an off-site location. “The client’s legal staff are clueless so I’ll parachute someone in next week.”
  • Parking lot [v.] To end the discussion of a particular item in a meeting with the intention of addressing it later. “We ran out time and had to parking lot Tim’s marketing ideas.”
  • Partnering [v.] An overused phrase referring to the formation of business relationships.
  • Party line [n.] Official position. “I just can’t swallow the party line on these environmental standards.”
  • Path forward [n.] A dramatic metaphor for what’s probably a mundane business plan.
  • Pathfinder project [n.] A new venture in an untested area. “This exciting pathfinder project will open new markets.” Of course, this is corporate-speak for, “We’re new to this and making it up as we go.”
  • Pay grade [n.] The limit of one’s knowledge or power within an organization. “Secret monkey research? That’s above my pay grade.”
  • Pay the piper [exp.] To settle a debt.
  • Payroll orphan [n.] A person who will no longer be receiving a paycheck.
  • Peacock [n.] A person who insists on displaying every award, certification, and #1-dad-plaque on their cubicle walls.
  • Peanut butter out [v.] To distribute responsibilities among team members. “Let’s meet tomorrow to peanut butter out the tasks.”
  • Pearl diving contest [n.] An incentive program to increase sales.
  • Peel the onion [v.] To remove all superfluous layers and get to the heart of an issue. Leave this one at home.
  • Peer management [v.] The art of interacting with difficult coworkers.
  • Pen-down strike [n.] A protest in which employees are physically present, but complete no actual work. A strike of one doesn’t count, lazy.
  • Pencil-whip [v.] To falsify records or submit a form with fabricated information. “I pencil-whipped the survey so management would take it seriously.”
  • Penetration pricing [v.] The practice of initially setting a low price to gain a market share.
  • Penny ante [n.] Something insignificant.
  • Percussive maintenance [v.] The common practice of ‘fixing’ a piece a equipment by smacking it repeatedly.
  • Perfect storm [n.] Unlikely event where all possible business challenges converge at once. Often used as an excuse for poor results.
  • Phase Two [exp.] While it once referred to a concrete part of a given project, it is now used to shelve unrealistic ideas. “That’s more of a phase two idea, Jill.”
  • Phenomeniche [n.] A product or idea that, while not an overall phenomenon, completely dominates its particular market.
  • Phone it in [v.] To complete a task without much effort. “She’s really phoning it in on this one.”
  • Phone shui [n.] In thick buildings, this is the art of adjusting the placement of your cellphone to find a signal.
  • Photox [v.] Improving the appearance of one’s face in a digital image using graphics software.
  • Pig in a python [exp.] Slow moving.
  • Pigeon [n.] 1) Someone that is easily deceived. 2) An absolutely useless and clueless employee. “What were they thinking hiring this pigeon?”
  • Piggyback [v.] To add to a previously stated idea. This is a common occurrence in meetings and business school classes, where the idea is usually just repeated using different wording. “I’d like to piggyback on Kim’s analysis of this case…”
  • Pilot fish [n.] A junior-level manager that closely tails a senior executive.
  • Pin the rose [v.] The act of selecting someone to perform a thankless task. “Head downstairs and find me an intern I can pin this rose on.”
  • Ping [v.] To contact or notify. “Ping the boss about this one later.”
  • Pipe, the [n.] The never-ending source of all work. “I better hurry and finish this project because I’ve got three more coming down the pipe.”
  • Pivot [n.] A shift or change. “Management has instructed us to pivot off our legacy brand message.”
  • Planful [adj.] Describes actions taken after careful strategic thinking. “I admire your measured and planful approach.”
  • Pocket call [n.] An unintentional cell phone call. Can often get you into trouble.
  • Point of pain [n.] An area of pressing customer need. Addressed, of course, by your company’s latest product offering.
  • Poison pill [exp.] A financial move to discourage a takeover attempt.
  • Polish a document [v.] To add fancy words (many of which you’ll find here) to make your writing sound more convincing.
  • Political equity [n.] The hope of big business that political donations build value over time.
  • Polling [v.] Repeatedly checking Internet news sites throughout the workday, in order to be the first to ‘break the story’ to your colleagues when something interesting comes up.
  • Pooh-pooh [v.] To reject, turn down.
  • Poor mouth [exp.] To verbally deny that one is wealthy.
  • Populate [v.] To fill out a paper form. “Can you populate that expense claim for me?”
  • Post-mortem [n.] The meeting, report, or (heaven forbid) process that addresses everything that went wrong during a failed project.
  • Power luser [n.] An employee who is incredibly good at accidentally screwing up his computer.
  • Powerpoint Bunny [n.] Someone who dedicates themselves to the art of putting other people’s hard work into cheesy, over-animated slideshows.
  • PowerPointless [adj.] Fancy graphics and animations in slide presentations that distract your audience instead of clarifying.
  • PR&D [n.] The unholy union of public relations and research & development. Engineering activities performed for promotional purposes with no regard for usability, return on investment, or product application.
  • Prairie dogging [v.] The simultaneous pop-up of several heads when something interesting is happening around cubicles.
  • Pre-mumble [n.] The preliminary comments of a speaker. Often an attempt at humour is made.
  • Pre-read [n.] Subject matter, memos and other materials that should be read prior to a meeting or event. “Please forward the pre-read to my secretary before tomorrow’s board meeting.”
  • Prebuttal [n.] To address an opposing viewpoint before it’s brought up. Often interruptive, “Now I know what you’re going to say…”
  • Presenteeism [n.] The practice of working ridiculously long hours.
  • Press on that bruise [v.] The act of further exposing or exploiting a known weakness to advance one’s cause. “I don’t mean to press on that bruise, but…”
  • Press the flesh [v.] To shake hands.
  • Pretendgineer [n.] A young worker who has settled for a technical job after realizing that his true passion won’t pay the bills. “He’s still hoping for that record deal, but he’s been pretendgineering since graduation. I give it 6 months before the guitar’s gathering dust.”
  • Prethink [v.] Discussing an idea or proposal with a smaller group before broader delivery. “We met to prethink our message before the call.”
  • Price point [n.] Although a legitimate economic concept, business people are simply happy to have a much cooler way to say ‘price’. “What kind of price point were you looking for?”
  • Proceduralize [v.] To make a process official. “We’re going to proceduralize this protocol into a coherent business model.”
  • Productize [v.] To turn into a product. “How do we productize our experience in this sector?”
  • Programmatically [adj.] To complete a task with the help of a software tool. “I want to be able to track our shipments programmatically.”
  • Progressive elaboration [n.] The process by which a mediocre project is continuously modified via trial and error with the hope that it is improving.
  • Project creep [n.] The ongoing extension of a deadline by small increments.
  • Promoted to customer [v.] Fired. “Didn’t you hear? Melanie was promoted to customer last Friday.”
  • Prostitot [n.] A pre-teen girl that dresses provocatively.
  • Pucker factor [n.] The degree of reaction to something that is startling or unexpected. It’s better not to think about the origins of this one.
  • Puff piece [n.] An article that is purely hype.
  • Pulse [v.] To gather information informally. “Pulse our liaisons for any changes to our contact lists.”
  • Pump and dump [v.] To pad a list price higher so that the net profit is still palatable after a large discount is applied. “Who negotiated this corporate account? I had to pump and dump all my quotes to those guys.”
  • Punch the tree [v.] To vent anger at an inanimate object in lieu of the person who caused it. “Take five, punch the tree, and come back in here with a clear head.”
  • Pushback [n.] The opposition that one’s ideas face from the rest of the company.
  • Pushing rope [v.] A fruitless task. “You’ve wasted half your career pushing rope.”
  • Put the acid on [v.] Applying negative pressure to motivate an individual or group. “R&D has gone full-on fantasyland. Time to put the acid on.”
  • Put to bed [v.] To conclude something. “We just need to put these last issues to bed.”
  • Put your feelers out [exp.] To assess a situation using information gathered from one’s professional network. “Why don’t you put your feelers out to gauge the partners’ interest in our latest initiatives.”
  • Putting socks on an octopus [v.] Attempting an impossible task. “Closing these latest prospects is like putting socks on an octopus.”

 

  • Q1 [n.] A slick way to say ‘first quarter’. Similar usage for the other three quarters is also encouraged.
  • Queen of the Pigs [n.] The best of a bad breed; the number one loser. “He’s not really bright but he’s queen of the pigs in that organization.”
  • Queen of the pigs [n.] The best of a bad breed; the number one loser. “He’s not really bright, but he’s queen of the pigs in that organization.”
  • Quick win [n.] Guaranteed success within a short period of time, often through capitalizing on misfortune. “Look for a quick win on wheat futures over Egypt unrest.”

 

  • Race without a finish line [n.] A frantic effort without a clearly defined goal. “I see you clowns racing, but where’s the damn finish line?”
  • Raft of measures [n.] A group of solutions launched concurrently. “Let me assure you that we will float out a raft of measures to correct this imbalance.”
  • Ramp up [v.] To increase over a period of time.
  • Rasterbator [n.] A person who uses photo-editing software compulsively.
  • RDB [n.] Rectal DataBase. The origin of ideas that are pulled out of one’s ass.
  • Re-inventing the wheel [v.] Hard work that can be avoided by simply stealing the solution from someone else. “I will not abide wheel re-invention.”
  • Reach out [v.] To contact. A dramatic way of saying a very mundane thing.”I’ll have my people reach out sometime next week.”
  • Ready, fire, aim [exp.] Releasing a product that isn’t ready just to meet an arbitrary deadline or impress investors. “We’ll fix it in post…”
  • Real-time [adj.] Distinguishes voice communication from email and text. “75 reply threads and you’re nowhere. Get on the horn and deal with this in real-time.”
  • Recontextualize [v.] To redefine an organization’s role in a given business environment. Who can actually say this word with a straight face??
  • Rectible [n.] A larger, rectangle shaped cubicle usually given to team leaders.
  • Red flag [n.] Warning sign.
  • Reduction in Force (RIF) [n.] One of the many euphemisms used to describe firing people.
  • Referenceability [n.] A measure of a firm’s ability to gather positive references and case studies from its clients.
  • Rent-a-quote [n.] “Experts” for hire that are prized for their ability to provide convincing sound-bites.
  • Report [n.] A subordinate. “By this time next year, you’ll have a small army of direct reports.”
  • Repurpose [v.] To redefine how an item is used, often as an alternative to discarding it. “If we don’t repurpose this production line, we’re going to waste $2 million in capital.”
  • Resonate [v.] To appeal to someone on a fundamental level. “This new model will really resonate with the youth market.”
  • Resource [n.] References anything that will be used to complete a task, whether it be a stapler or a person. Usually helps managers strip away the humanity from their employees before making hard choices.
  • Resource-intensive [adj.] Expensive.
  • Responsibility curve [n.] The collection of things for which one is responsible. “Accounts Receivable is not part of my responsibility curve.”
  • Resume stain [n.] A job (or company) that looks so terrible that you’d rather leave it off your resume.
  • Retired in place (RIP”ed) [adj.] Describes a ‘tenured’ employee who still holds a position, but generally does nothing but count the days until retirement.
  • Retread [v.] To implement a failed idea for the second time.
  • Reverse infallibility [exp.] Describes a person who is always wrong.
  • Reverse logistics [n.] The return of a faulty product to the manufacturer. “Make sure the reverse logistics are as complicated as possible for the customer.”
  • Ride herd [v.] From a cowboy expression meaning to observe and control closely. “Jill, I need you to ride heard on this project.”
  • Right seat on the bus [n.] Responsibilities that complement the skills of those assigned. “We want to hire you, but just can’t seem to find the right seat on the bus.”
  • Right-shoring [v.] Distributing operations to the most profitable location, instead of assuming that offshore options are inherently superior.
  • Right-sizing [v.] A gentler way of saying downsizing (firing). Whatever you call it, you’ll still be cleaning out your desk this afternoon.
  • Road map [n.] A plan for dealing with upcoming business challenges. Your boss is probably just as lost when he’s behind the wheel.
  • Robust dialog [n.] A productive conversation between co-workers involving open, honest discussion. Usually this translates to two a**holes shouting at each other.
  • Rocket surgery [n.] A delightful way to combine two points of comparison when discussing the difficulty of a task. “Come on, it’s not rocket surgery.”
  • Rocking a pair of doobs [v.] Wearing boat/deck shoes (Dubarrys) in a business setting.
  • Rocks in the backpack [n.] The individual responsibilities that make up a person’s total workload. “Can’t help you. I’ve got enough rocks in my backpack.”
  • Roll in [v.] When telling a story about a late coworker, this is the only acceptable way to describe their arrival.
  • Rolling the tortoise [v.] Excessively increasing resources to accelerate an otherwise slow-moving project. “I’m pulling in ten extra bodies for this – we’re really rolling the tortoise here…”
  • Rooster call [n.] An early morning meeting scheduled well before normal working hours. Breakfast optional, but you best be brewing coffee.
  • Round file [n.] The garbage pail. “This sales brochure is going straight into the round file.”
  • Royal jelly [n.] 1) The substance that bees rub onto an immature female to cause her to transform into a queen. 2) The flashy projects and good assignments that are constantly fed to someone the boss is grooming for promotion.
  • “Debra’s been getting a ton of royal jelly lately, you think she’ll remember us when she makes VP?”
  • Rub my rhubarb [exp.] To be irritated in a particularly annoying or painful way. “These whiny new interns are really starting to rub my rhubarb.”
  • Rubber check [n.] A bounced check.
  • Rubber stamp [n.] Approval. “Can I get your rubber stamp on this one?”
  • Rube Goldberg [adj.] Describes an inefficient and overly complex solution.
  • Rug ranking [exp.] When the career of an assistant is tied to that of his or her boss.
  • Run it up the flagpole [exp.] To find out what colleagues think of a new idea.
  • Runway [n.] The amount of time left before a project must ‘get off the ground’. “You’ve got a 6 week runway — don’t waste it.”

 

  • Sacred cow [n.] A program or product that may be unprofitable, but cannot be questioned.
  • Sacrifice [v.] Yet another gentle name for firing people. “We’ll have to sacrifice a few customer service positions.”
  • Safe harbour [n.] The office bathroom. Borrowed from nautical terminology, this refers to how it is often the only place one can find a moment of peace at work.
  • Salt mine [n.] Menial work.
  • Sandbag [v.] 1) An unethical attack. 2) A tactic used by salespeople in which closing is purposely delayed into another time period (such as the next month), to improve their overall commission.
  • Sausage and the sizzle [AUS-exp.] A sales term for the extra effort required to close a deal. “John you’ve got the sausage, but where’s the sizzle?”
  • Scab [n.] A union term for undesirables such as strikebreakers and non-union employees.
  • Scarlet letter [n.] A symbol of shame.
  • Scooby Snacks [n.] Token compensation. “The gift certificates they gave us instead of a Christmas bonus were total scooby snacks.”
  • Scope creep [n.] The tendency of a project’s purpose to expand to suit the ambitions of the pushiest stakeholder.
  • Screw the pooch [v.] To avoid doing anything productive. “Are you going to sit there and screw the pooch all day?”
  • Scrub [n.] An entry-level employee. Usually replaceable.
  • Scuttlebutt [n.] Gossip or rumours.
  • Sea legs [n.] The point when a new arrangement becomes stable and comfortable. “We’re still establishing our freemium sea legs…”
  • Seagull manager [n.] A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps over everything and then leaves.
  • Seamless [adj.] Describes a system so well integrated that it seems like a contiguous whole. Even if it’s all paperclips and chewing gum inside.
  • Second .coming [n.] The re-emergance of Internet business as a viable way to make money.
  • Security theater [n.] A very visible display of security to compensate for a true lack of it.
  • Sense-checking [v.] The formalized process of ensuring that something is reasonable, or ‘makes sense.’
  • Serial entrepreneur [n.] A person who starts several (not necessarily successful) business ventures.
  • Serving suggestion [n.] A recommended quantity (non food-related). “Hit me with your serving suggestion on the social media ad buy.”
  • Shanghaied [adj.] 1) Forced to work a job on a ship overseas. 2) Forced to watch your job as it’s shipped overseas (to China).
  • Sheep dip [n.] A tedious corporate briefing where attendance is mandatory & recorded for all employees. “I can’t handle another sheep dip today.”
  • Sheep it [v.] To follow a ridiculous company policy without complaint.
  • Shelfware [n.] Purchased or developed software that is never actually used. “150 grand later and all we’ve got to show for it is a fancy piece of shelfware.”
  • Shield time [n.] The time spent in a vehicle (behind a windshield) with a coworker or boss.
  • Shiny objects [n.] A derogatory reference used by bitter salespeople when they lose a prospect to the ‘product of the week.’ “These idiots don’t know what they want, they’re just out there chasing shiny objects”.
  • Shirt size [n.] The quantity of effort required. “I need a ballpark shirt size on this contract so I can schedule you clowns.” Protip: It probably won’t be small.
  • Shoot the puppy [v.] To take an unpopular action. “We have to downsize the department, but I don’t want to be the one to shoot the puppy this time.”
  • Shotgun approach [n.] A wide, untargeted strategy.
  • Shoulder tap [n.] An informal request made in passing. A good reason to avoid the boss in the elevator, hallway, kitchen, parking lot, and bathroom AKA shoulder tap central.
  • Show pony [n.] Someone who superficially presents well but lacks real depth. “The conference floor was nothing but show ponies and booth babes.”
  • Shrink [n.] Retail losses from shoplifters.
  • Sidebar [n.] A whispered conversation between co-workers during a meeting or presentation. “Don’t let me interrupt your little sidebar ladies, but we have 30 more slides to get through here.”
  • Sideways [adv.] The direction of failure. “If this launch goes sideways, they’ll liquidate the entire department.”
  • Signature basis [n.] Solely based on one’s name and reputation.
  • Silo [n.] The conceptual area to which one’s work is confined. “Don’t worry, customer service is outside your silo.”
  • Silver bullet [n.] An infallible business solution.
  • Silver ceiling [n.] The barrier to promotion that many older employees face.
  • Simmer [v.] To allow time for considering and contemplating a topic, whether to let emotional reactions cool down or to encourage new ideas. “Give them a week to simmer on the new policy before requesting feedback.”
  • Single pane of glass [n.] A marketing claim that everything can be monitored and controlled from one display. “Networking perfection. On a SPOG.”
  • Skiing off-piste [v.] Completing a common task in an unconventional manner, usually at great personal risk if it all goes wrong.
  • Skills ecosystem [n.] The total collection of individual team-members’ skills, which are hoped to be mutually supportive. Usually refers to skills that are someone else’s problem for providing or training.
  • Skillset [n.] A collection of abilities, commonly matched to a set of requirements. Even more commonly embellished by job-seekers.
  • Skip-level meeting [n.] When a member of senior management meets with low-level workers directly to see who’s brave enough to ask a question (or offer dirt on their supervisors).
  • Skull session [n.] A collaborative meeting to generate new ideas (a brainstorm by any other name…). “Skull session. My office. Oh-nine-hundred.”
  • Slave trader [n.] An affectionate term for the human resources crowd.
  • Sledule [n.] A project schedule that continually slides to the right due to poor planning and underestimated tasks.
  • SME [n.] Subject Matter Expert. The resident guru for a given topic. “I can’t remember how to work this damn photocopier. Who’s the SME for this machine?”
  • Smell test [n.] A disgusting little term for using common sense to make a quick judgment. Anyone else cringe every time you see it in print?
  • Smirting [v.] Taking the opportunity to flirt with co-workers while huddled together for an outdoor cigarette break.
  • Socialize [v.] To facilitate group discussions about an issue. “Let’s give them time to socialize the new material with their teams.”
  • Soft pedal [v.] To give a false impression that progress is being made.”We soft pedaled the client until we had more time available.”
  • Soundbites [n.] Key points delivered in small amounts. “Stop running your mouth and just give me the soundbites.”
  • Soup to nuts [exp.] From the start to the end of a project, in reference to the first and last courses of a formal meal. “How can we get from soup to nuts on this one?”
  • Space [n.] A consultant’s designated area of expertise or focus. The term is normally used with some form of the verb ‘play.’ “Our SME plays in the outsourcing space.”
  • Space [n.] A really douchey way to refer to a market or industry. “We’re looking at full saturation in the tablet space by Q3.”
  • Speaker-phone voice [n.] The characteristic volume level that people feel they must use when on speaker-phone.
  • Speaks to [adj.] 1) Evokes: “This image speaks to the bravery of the troops.” 2) Represents: “This bold logo speaks to the fact that we’re bold.”
  • Special Projects [n.] Tasks given to formerly favored executives that have screwed up. Lets them pretend to have a real job while looking for a new position.
  • Special sauce [n.] Anything of a proprietary nature.
  • Spend [n.] An amount of money paid out. “What was our total ad spend last month.” …And I’m spent.
  • Spitball [v.] 1) To estimate. 2) To conceive an idea; brainstorm. “Let’s run through your sales deck and spitball a new angle.”
  • SPOC [n.] Single Point Of Contact. An acronym that recognizes the efficiency found in appointing one person to speak for a group. “I’ll have my SPOC get in touch with your SPOC.”
  • Spokesweasel [n.] A public relations agent. He usually possesses a remarkable gift for spin.
  • Squeeze the sponge [v.] To extract every last bit of knowledge that an employee gained during a company-funded training event. “Let’s review your conference notes. I want each department head to sit down with you and squeeze the sponge.”
  • SSSD [n.] Same Sh** Same Day. Working the third shift often means leaving at 6AM and returning the same calendar day at 10PM, only to encounter the SSSD.
  • Stakeholder management [v.] The art of acquiring enough opinions from people, groups, or leaders within a company to deflect blame if a project doesn’t meet expectations and/or outright fails.
  • Stakeholdering [v.] The process of seeking support, approval, or clients for an upcoming project. “I spent the entire Christmas party stakeholdering upper management on my Q1 initiatives.”
  • Stall nap [n.] A short, pants-optional sleep taken in the office bathroom. Watch out for the telling red forehead spot afterwards. See: Safe harbour.
  • Standing room only [exp.] Where buyers are led to believe there are many others interested in an item.
  • Starter marriage [n.] A brief first marriage ending in divorce.
  • Statistical massage [v.] To present numbers in a way that conveys a desired message.
  • Stealth parenting [v.] Running errands for your kids after telling your boss that you have a business obligation.
  • Stepford Worker [n.] An employee that has bought the corporate party line completely and become an unthinking clone. Surprisingly desirable in the business world.
  • Stick to your knitting [v.] 1) To focus on one’s main areas of business, often at the expense of other departments.2) To be steadfast.
  • Stick-around [n.] A meeting that takes place directly after another, in the same location. “We had an two hour stick-around after the project meeting yesterday.”
  • Strap-on [v.] To try something. “Before you judge my idea, why don’t you strap it on for a while.”
  • Strategic planning [n.] Pointless tautology used when the word ‘planning’ doesn’t quite sound impressive enough by itself.
  • Street, the [n.] The finance district of major economic centres.
  • Stress puppy [n.] A person who is continuously anxious and lives for any sympathy gained from complaining about it.
  • Sunset [v.] To slowly retire a product line. “We need to sunset last year’s model over the next two months.”
  • Sunshine enema [n.] The spin campaign given to the remaining shell-shocked, fear-crippled employees after massive layoffs in an attempt to boost morale (i.e. productivity).
  • Super [n.] Supervisor, for those who are too lazy to say the whole word.
  • Surface [v.] To raise an issue. “Don’t forget to surface your concerns with the VPs.”
  • Surplused [v.] Yet another way to describe being fired. “We surplused a few people last week.” Good lord.
  • SWAG [n.] Scientific Wild-Assed Guess. An estimate ostensibly supported by some kind of analysis, however fudged or misapplied. “We arrived at our conclusion using the SWAG method.”
  • Swampland in Florida/Arizona [n.] A sarcastic offer made in response to perceived gullibility/ignorance. “If you believe that, I’ve got some prime swampland in Florida for you…”
  • Sweat equity (AKA swequity) [n.] An intangible asset earned by the hardworking, under-paid employees of small start-up companies. These individuals are often promised an eventual reward tied directly to the success of the enterprise. “I know I can’t exercise the options until next year, but the 80-hour weeks are building swequity.”
  • Sweat the asset [v.] Getting the most out of your hard-working employee. “Our productivity systems ensure that you sweat the asset to the max.”
  • Sweetheart deal [n.] An arrangement where existing clients receive more favorable terms than new clients. See also: Ponzi scheme.
  • Swim lane [n.] 1) A visual element showing task assignments in a process diagram. 2) Field of responsibility. “Listen, client management just isn’t in my swim lane.”
  • Sympvertizing [n.] Advertising that attempts to sympathize and identify with the consumer.

 

  • Table [v.] To set an issue aside. “We’ll have to table your complaints for now and get back to them when we have more time.”
  • Table stakes [n.] The minimum resources needed to enter a market. Occasionally misspelled as “table steaks,” causing confusion and hunger.
  • Tacit knowledge [n.] A complicated way of referring to information that only exists within the head of an employee(s). The challenge is often to find a way to record this knowledge before they ditch the company.
  • Tactical [adj.] Concerned with low-level details and execution. “Don’t tell me you’re an ‘ideas guy’ when your team is begging for tactical leadership.”
  • Tailwinds [n.] Positive market conditions that favor success. “We’re going to capitalize on current tailwinds to carry us into 2011.”
  • Take home [n.] Final net pay after all deductions have been taken off.
  • Take the knock [v.] To sell at a loss.
  • Talent [n.] A cynical way to refer to unskilled labor. “We’re short-staffed on the fryer this week. Get more talent in the door.”
  • Talent [n.] Key skilled labor. “Never lose sight of The Talent. Acquire it. Keep it happy. Full stop.”
  • Talk to [v.] A self-important way of saying ‘talk about’. “I’m going to talk to this report.”
  • Talk turkey [v.] To converse in a serious way. “Step into my office so we can talk turkey.”
  • Tall Foreheads [n.] 1) A swipe at older white men with receding hairlines who predominate most senior management teams. 2) Experts or intellectuals.
  • “I made the pitch to a room full of Tall Foreheads.”
  • Tangentery [n.] Distracting side topics. “Let’s not get off into tangentery again.”
  • Tap dancer [n.] A person who seems busy and productive, but stays in pretty much the same place.
  • Tart up [v.] To artificially increase the attractiveness of something. “I think their auditing firm has been tarting up the financials again.”
  • Tasked [v.] To be given an assignment. “I’ve been tasked with bringing coffee to the meeting.”
  • Tassel-loafers [n.] Construction site visitors that can be identified as upper management by the style of their shoes.
  • Tee up [v.] To provide an introduction or transition for the next speaker during a presentation. “Your question is a nice tee-up for our next presenter, Jim, who will speak to that very topic.”
  • Teflon shoulders [n.] The coworker who always manages to wiggle out of assignments. “Total immunity to delegation, this guy. Nothing sticks.”
  • Testiculate [UK-v.] To wave one’s arms while at the same time, talking bollocks.
  • That dog won”t hunt [exp.] Your plan seems promising, but will never work in practice.
  • The juice is not worth the squeeze [exp.] The pain or sacrifice outweighs the expected benefits.
  • Think the unthinkable [exp.] A meaningless challenge taken from the title of a British sitcom about the perils of management consulting.
  • Three-martini lunch [n.] A business meal with multiple alcoholic drinks. Can be used to ‘encourage’ a prospective client.
  • Throw the dolly out of the pram [UK-exp.] A childish, inappropriate outburst in response to frustration. “Now don’t throw the dolly out of the pram here; calm down and let’s talk about this rationally.”
  • Throw under the bus [v.] To avoid responsibilty for a mistake by blaming someone else. “That b**** from finance really threw me under the bus.”
  • Tiger team [n.] A temporary group of “experts” assembled to convince management that everything is under control.
  • Time-poor [adj.] Possessing little free time (of course, this is according to the person using this expression).
  • Timeframe [n.] A superfluous word whose sole purpose seems to be to add two extra syllables of hot air. “We expect to deliver in a July timeframe.” In other words, it’ll be ready in July.
  • Tips and pearls [n.] Brief pieces of advice and wisdom. “We provide a broad-base consult to really capture those tips and pearls.”
  • Title sponsor [n.] A company that attaches its name to a building, event, or anything else that will take their dirty money.
  • TLA [n.] Three Letter Acronym. There’s no time to say three whole words, even when complaining about overused acronyms.
  • Tokenism [adj.] Putting minority workers in visible roles in order to project an image of diversity.
  • Tony Bagadonuts [n.] A bumbling man. “So I’m talking to the client and all of a sudden Tony Bagadonuts shows up and interrupts everything.”
  • Took a bath [exp.] A really slick way of saying that a lot of money was lost. “We really took a bath after 9/11.”
  • Toolkit [n.] A collection of training materials. CLAIM: Comprehensive set of tools and strategies for dealing with any situation. REALITY: Three slide PowerPoint.
  • Touch base [v.] To get in contact with or update. “Call me in two weeks and we’ll touch base about this again.”
  • Tourists [n.] People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs. “We had three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists.”
  • Town hall [n.] A meeting held by senior management for all staff, usually followed by a carefully scripted question and answer period.
  • Transitioning [v.] An ugly verb meaning ‘to undergo a transition.’ “We’re transitioning to a new payroll system next month.”
  • Travel dazzle [exp.] An attempt to impress the boss while on a business trip together.
  • Tree killer [n.] Someone who insists on printing every email, document, and web-page they come across.
  • Treeware [n.] Geek-speak for anything printed on paper.
  • Trending over [v.] To increase past a projected or budgeted value, usually in reference to spent money.”We’re trending over plan on our T & E line.”
  • Trial balloon [n.] Info sent out to observe the reaction of colleagues or more commonly, supervisors. “Float a trial balloon before you go and spend that money.”
  • Triangulate [v.] To involve a third person or party. “The contract looks good to me, but I’ll have to triangulate with Gavin in Accounts before we can move forward.”
  • Tribal knowledge [n.] Group wisdom gained over many years in a given industry. “I’m going to hit you with some hard won tribal knowledge.”
  • Triple-dub [n.] The freshest way to start spelling out a website address. “Dude, you have to hit up triple-dub dot superpizzaboner dot info.”
  • True North [n.] The business direction that leads to success. “We’ve brought in some consultants to help steer us to True North.”
  • Trustafarian [n.] A co-worker, typically a young intern, who is from a wealthy background but dresses like a bohemian stoner.
  • TTB [n.] Time to boxes. Elapsed meeting time before someone jumps up and begins drawing boxes on the whiteboard.
  • Turd polishing [v.] 1) Putting a positive spin on an unpleasant situation. 2) Efforts to make cosmetic improvements to something that is fundamentally flawed.
  • Turkey farm [n.] A division used to store the incompetent or unfireable, safely isolated from actual customer interaction. Members may include eccentric IT gurus, union reps, and your boss’s teenage daughter.
  • Turkey trot [v.] Transferring a difficult or incompetent worker into another section of the company.
  • Turn-key [adj.] Describes a system that can be immediately installed and activated, without significant configuration.
  • Two-comma [adj.] Anything that costs over 1,000,000. “We just landed a two-comma contract this morning.”
  • Twobicle [n.] A cubicle built for two. “Having my own twobicle will always be the dream.”

 

  • Uber [adj.] This borrowed German word emphasizes any adjective that it appears before. It’s also a great way to sound like your teenage daughter. “I am uber-tired today; I’m going to spend the rest of the day working from home.”
  • Under-resourced [adj.] Lacking the necessary personnel to complete a task.
  • Undertooled [adj.] Lacking the tools necessary to complete a task. “I need more training; I’m completely undertooled to operate this.”
  • Uninstalled [v.] To be fired.
  • Unpack [v.] To explore or examine in detail. “I think that we need to really unpack this concept before we pursue the idea further.”
  • Unscrew [v.] The actions required to reverse the harm caused by previous incompetent management. “I’m not sure how we’re going to unscrew things with the shareholders.”
  • Up sticks [v.] To close a location and move. “If your team can’t deliver growth next quarter, we’ll up sticks and relocate the whole division.”
  • Up the pitch [v.] To increase the intensity of an argument. I think you mean volume, sweetie. “Don’t pivot off-message… up the pitch!”
  • Upfeed [v.] Passing along key information to a superior. “Just put it in your report and I’ll catch it on the upfeed.”
  • Upshot [n.] An advantage or benefit. “The upshot of this escalation strategy will be a 50% increase in our small arms production.”
  • Upside [n.] Potential for a positive financial outcome. “Stop mumbling about ethics and think about the upside. It’s bonus season.”
  • Upskill [v.] To self-improve.
  • Upspeak [n.] The grating habit of ending every sentence with a raised inflection, as if asking a question. Some valley girls become valley women.
  • Uptitling [v.] The practice of changing an employee’s job title to something impressive (and often ridiculous) sounding in place of an actual promotion.

 

  • Value proposition [n.] The collection of tangible and intangible things that your product offers.
  • Value stream [n.] The full set of processes through which a product passes over its lifespan. Some add value, while others take it away.
  • Value-add [exp.] A typical biz-speak reversal of ‘added value.’ “We have to evaluate the value-add of this activity before we drop any more money into it.”
  • Vanilla [adj.] Simple, conservative. “Stop being so vanilla and help me shred these documents.”
  • Vaporware [n.] 1) Overhyped software that misses a promised release date so many times that even die-hard fanboys lose interest. 2) A tactic used by salesman to sidestep your complaints by selling you the (nonexistent) next version of their product.
  • Vapour trail [n.] What follows behind a coworker that uses far too much perfume or cologne. Someone should really say something…
  • Veal pen [n.] A cubicle. So how tender do you think you are at this point?
  • Vector [v.] Move. That’s it, just move. “We’ll vector that up to the operations unit right away.”
  • Velvet lip [n.] The ability to divert attention away from unpleasant situations, production numbers, or sales figures. “Who’s that new PR guy with the velvet lip?”
  • Verbiage [n.] Descriptive writing. “Here’s the outline for our strategy in the coming fiscal year… we’ll fill in the verbiage later.”
  • Verbification [v.] See verbing.
  • Verbing [v.] The process of transforming an innocent noun into a business verb.
  • Village hall [n.] An unfortunate derivative of ‘Town hall’, this is a relatively small meeting held by middle management. The same pretense of open discussion applies.
  • Visibility to [n.] Access to information about a given subject. “I can’t give you visibility to unpublished earnings data.”
  • Vision [n.] The bold leadership direction that every manager claims, even if it changes every two weeks.
  • Visioning [v.] Meeting to plan future directions (also used in place of ‘brainstorming’ by those who keep their jargon fresh). “Keep your afternoon clear for a visioning session with the project leads.”
  • Visual noise [n.] A condition wherein a workspace is so cluttered that the employee cannot think clearly about anything or respond to simple requests for information. “This collection of visual noise you call a cubicle is a barrier to productivity.”
  • Voldis [n.] Volume discount. “What kind of voldis can you give me if I order 1000 units?”
  • Voluntold [v.] Volunteered for something by a superior, when there was really no choice in the matter.
  • Vubicle [n.] A cubicle that abuts a window; a cubicle with a view. When offices aren’t available, it’s the little things that help managers feel superior.
  • Vulcan Nerve Pinch [n.] The taxing hand position required to reach all the appropriate keys for certain computer commands.
  • Vulture capitalists [n.] Ruthless investors that typically wait to help liquidate the remaining assets of failed companies.

 

  • W-cubed [exp.] The unrealistic claim that your company can deliver whatever, wherever, whenever it’s needed.
  • WAG [n.] A Wild-Assed Guess.
  • Walk together [n.] A close collaboration. Try to imagine your colleagues stumbling around the office in an awkward three-legged race.
  • Walk-trot-run [adj.] Describes the progressive improvement of new personnel or practices. “I’m confident that my latest hires will be walk-trot-run by next month.”
  • Wallet share [n.] The portion of a customer’s total spending that has been captured. “This software will allow you to spot opportunities to increase wallet share on a client-by-client basis.”
  • Wallpaper a meeting [v.] To include individuals that agree with your position.
  • Wallpapering fog [v.] Doing something useless (in the extreme). “Tell your team to stop wallpapering fog and produce some damn results!”
  • Warm bowl of nothing [n.] A project or idea that has no substance, but is sold as a great opportunity.
  • Washup [n.] A follow-up meeting to poke a stick in the entrails of an event and assign blame. Optionally, suggestions for improvement are made
  • Wax poetic [v.] To talk in what the speaker believes to be an expressive manner, often using bizarre, contrived metaphors. “After warning us that he was going to ‘wax poetic’, Tim started to compare our recent union battles with the struggle for racial equality.”
  • Weapons grade [adj.] Effective to the point of being lethal (not actually lethal). “You’re lookin’ at weapons grade, black-belt tigerteam.”
  • Weighing the pig [v.] Endlessly analyzing a business’s standpoint in terms of market share, profitability, growth potential, etc., instead of actually working on generating revenue.
  • What the musk?! [exp.] The proper response to the entrance of a coworker with overpowering cologne.
  • Whatnot [n.] No matter how many times an instruction is repeated or simplified, this person will look back with glazed eyes, a blank expression and a predictable response, “…What?”
  • Wheelhouse [n.] The piloting room of a ship; the brain. “The thought of going green has been rattling around my wheelhouse for some time now.”
  • Where the rubber meets the road [exp.] 1) A single, crucial moment on which success is dependent. 2) The performance of a product after release, in the real world.”We deploy next week. This is where the rubber meets the road, people!”
  • White smoke meeting [n.] Marks the point when a client approves a big contract. Just like announcing a new pope, if the pope were a cleared commission check.
  • Whiteboard [v.] To convey information by writing it out on a presentation surface. “Let’s whiteboard your thoughts in this afternoon’s meeting.”
  • Whitehouse decision [n.] An issue that can only be addressed by the most senior of senior management. See: C-level.
  • Whitespace [n.] 1) Open floor or selling space. “Walking through the sales area, I realized we’ve got way too much whitespace.” 2) Unrealized opportunity. “We need to identify the whitespace in dental sales.”
  • Whore’s market [n.] A saturated and competitive market with no barriers to entry. “They’re slitting throats for pennies out there. It’s a real whore’s market.”
  • Widen the jaws [v.] To ensure that revenue rises faster than costs. “Unpaid overtime won’t widen the jaws forever.”
  • WIFM [exp.] What’s In it For Me (pronounced ‘wiffim’). “I understand what you’re saying, but where’s the WIFM here?”
  • Wiggle room [n.] The amount of flexibility to change a profit margin. “Our competitors are offering a huge discount. How much wiggle room do we have here?”
  • Win-win situation [n.] A mutually beneficial arrangement for two parties. While the better negotiator is probably still at an advantage, both leave the table feeling great about it.
  • Window-licker [n.] An employee who tries desperately (and unsuccessfully) to impress the boss and be promoted.
  • Windshield survey [v.] Avoiding the effort required to actually leave one’s car during a site visit.
  • Witch hunt [n.] An all-consuming and costly search for the person responsible for a minor mistake. May be the first step in your manager’s descent into madness.
  • With all due respect… [exp.] Usually spoken just prior to showing no respect at all.
  • Within a nine iron [adj.] Relatively close to a goal. “Get us within a 9 iron on those figures.” Do you remember how to convert golf yards into dollars?
  • Womb to tomb [adj.] From creation to disposal. “You’re looking at guaranteed lifecycle support. Womb to tomb.”
  • WOO [n.] Window Of Opportunity. “John has to come in Monday; the WOO can’t be changed on this one.”
  • Word-of-mouse [adj.] Referral advertising over a computer network.
  • Wordsmith [v.] A dramatic replacement for ‘edit’. “Let’s capture your ideas in broad terms for now — we can always wordsmith them later.”
  • Work of Shame [n.] The shift following an unexpected weeknight hook-up, usually featuring the same clothes from the day before. Although people may see the repeat outfit and just think you’re bad at life.
  • Work sandwich [n.] The work-related sheets of paper printed to conceal personal use of the equipment.
  • Work spasm [n.] The very productive (although usually short) period of work just after a vacation.
  • Work stack [n.] “To do” list. “We’ll need to check Jim’s work stack before we task him with another account.”
  • Work the problem [v.] After pretending to listen to a complaint, this is the act of pretending to address the issue. Nicely avoids committing to a specific course of action. “Understand that we are very concerned and are currently working the problem. Please hold the line and it will be remedied shortly.”
  • Work/work balance [n.] Making sure that your day job doesn’t interfere with the time you spend chasing half-baked startup ideas.
  • Workstream [n.] A task described so vaguely that no tangible progress can be made. “I want each member of your team to focus on one of four key workstreams…”
  • Worry bead [n.] A bothersome subject tracked by executives on a rotating basis. Like Rosary Beads are counted during prayers, worry bead items are discussed on a regular schedule.
  • Wow factor [n.] That special something that the client keeps demanding, but can never quite articulate.

 

  • Xerox subsidy [n.] The practice of using the company’s photocopier, printer, or fax machine for personal reasons.

 

  • Yield loss [n.] A drop in productivity. “We’re seeing white collar yield loss across all departments; it’s time to block Facebook.”
  • Yogurt cities [n.] Places that have an ‘active culture’, meaning a large number of museums, theatres, art galleries, etc.
  • Youmanity [n.] You + humanity. Wait, what?
  • Your take [exp.] Your point of view. “So what’s your take on these latest sales figures?”
  • Yuppy food stamps [n.] Fresh $20 bills from the ATM

 

  • Zero cycles [adj.] Lacking the free time for any additional tasks. “It comes down to bandwidth. I have zero cycles for any of this.”
  • Zero time [n.] The duration of tasks that management considers insignificant and so shouldn’t impact your productivity when assigned en masse. Logging in takes zero time; filling out a requisition form takes zero time; A “brief weekly update” meeting takes zero time.
  • Zero-sum game [n.] A situation where if one person wins, someone else must lose.
  • Zero-zero split [n.] The opportunity to waste time when working on two projects simultaneously by telling one boss that you’re busy with the other.
  • Zerotasking [v.] Doing nothing.
  • Zombie project [n.] A project that keeps coming back to life no matter how many times that it’s terminated.