A Guide for Newcomers to the Wonderful World of Marketing and Business who thought that they only needed English to get by..
(C) Rod Jones - All Rights Reserved
- with added Art Pretentiousness, Menu Twaddle and PR speak
Use of the word "issues" has been a compulsory part of Management Speak since the early nineties.
"This is not an issue", "This is a major issue" are typical examples of usage.
An issue is a topic for consideration which requires some Management action or a decision. When this action or decision is taken the issue is always said to be "addressed". (But they never stick a stamp on it.)
Very useful for veiled slanders such as "She has underwear retention issues" or he has "competency issues". This is usually said with a wise "Nuff said" nod and a quick change of subject. Sadly, many managers have likeability issues.
Also very useful for comical understatements such as "The Titanic had buoyancy issues" or "Oliver Reed had sobriety issues"
Having issues is not to be confused with having tissues which relates to an entirely different activity. Having "tissue issues" is of course related to having "wrist management issues" and is one of the veiled slanders referred to above.
Not to be confused with HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
HR is a lovely jargony way of saying "personnel" and it stands for human resources.
It is specially effective when used with "issues" as in "We have some very pressing HR issues to address" . or "We are all about HR empowerment"
It also stands for "Holiday Route"....
I Hear What You Say
A favourite of managers who can't bring themselves to say "No".
Literal meaning: "I hear what you say but (fingers in ears) Ner-Ner-Ner I'm not listening"
Included here because many people for whom English is not their first language are fooled by it and believe that they are dealing with an earnestly intentioned manager instead of someone who hasn't got the bottle to say "I disagree because..."
Just Add Water.
A favourite 1950's advertising slogan, this expression means that a scheme has been well thought through and all that is required is that it should be launched.
Key performance indicator. The notches in the Management Bedpost, these are agreed indicators as to whether an organisation is doing well.
The length of NHS waiting lists is a KPI. Hospital hygiene may not be. Reduction of waiting lists by death is definitely not (yet ) a KPI despite the pioneering work by Dr Shipman in the UK
Incredibly exciting replacement for the clapped-out "State of the Art."
To be fair, it does imply a greater technical leadership than State of the Art which simply suggests that something is up to date but not as "out there" as it would be if it was "Leading Edge".
Be careful how you use this, however.
Some analysts see Leading Edge as synonymous with Bleeding Edge - i.e. expensive to develop and prone to failure.
Low Hanging Fruit
The very latest phrase. Projects yielding the greatest reward for the least effort/cost.
Not to be confused with "low hung fruit" which are well endowed gay males.
One of my nephews has pointed out that low hanging fruit are the fruit that dogs cock their legs on
Hmmm... he should go far.
But will it be far enough? Or soon enough?
Artspeak. When talking about a painting, one risks displaying a woeful ignorance of the subject if one refers to brushstrokes or lines or blobs.
After all, what you have identified as a "brushstroke" might actually be a blob!
Safer by far to knowingly refer to all manifestations of an artist's work as "marks".
Exciting new Management Word meaning "means of measuring something" - usually performance in the workplace.
Don't believe what they say..Metrics really do matter.
Usage:"I'm afraid we don't have a metric for that" = "How do I know what our paperclip consumption was last year?"
This simply means the way that a person thinks and is likely to behave.
It has no relation to trainset (ownership of which also gives a clue to the way that a person thinks and is likely to behave.)
A useful marketing shorthand for different Mindsets is to refer to a persons' likely newspaper reading tastes:
Sun reader = person of low intelligence
Star reader = person of low intelligence who can actually be prevented from reading by Sellotaping his lips together so that they can't move.
Guardian reader = bleeding-heart liberal
Telegraph reader = Diehard Tory
Mail / Express reader = Diehard Tory with brains removed )
Mens Health reader = Sufferer from short-term memory loss who keeps buying the magazine without realising that every issue features an article on how to improve/get a 6-pack, an article on 60 (count-em) ways to to get her gagging for more and how to lose ten pounds of ugly fat (decapitation could be a feasible option.)
FHM reader = Male with strong wrists, differently exercised.
Want to impress your colleagues?
Use some space programme jargon to show that you are playing with the big boys.
If something is "Mission critical" it means that failure to provide it or produce it or do it (whatever it is ) will bring the entire project or programme to its knees.
Not to be confused with Missionary Critical which is a cannibal food writer's rant against excessive use of balsamic vinegar in the preparation of eveque à l'orange.
(Cannibal foodspeak for Bishop with orange sauce - a dish never to be found in Northern Ireland)
This is the statement which is supposed to focus everybody on the key goals of the Company and these used to be prominently displayed in Reception Areas of many Companies.
However, most people have the wit to realise that the true mission statement of any red-blooded plc worth investing in would read:
"To make as much money for the Board and the Shareholders as possible with the least investment and as few people as possible".
For this reason, they tend to see right through the anodyne guff about "Empowering Employees", and "Working in Partnership" - particularly in those cases where empowerment has passed to new partners in the Far East at a fraction of the cost of the fully empowered domestic variety.
As a result, the Mission Statement has been replaced in most world-class companies by ISO 9001:2000 accreditation which is altogether more meaningful.
Movers and shakers
These are the key players in a team or a marketplace or a company.
Their moving and shaking makes itself felt while ordinary folk can only stand back in admiration and envy.
Even envisioneers are awestruck...
Nice to Have
This killer phrase is the development team's death blow to the key features that the product manager wanted for the new software.
The development manager is up against the deadline for the product launch and is looking for features to throw out.
"Nice to have" means "It's just the Product Manager's fancy and we can kill it without it being a showstopper (qv)
Unfortunately, all too often such features are are those things that are completely novel and would actually create some space between the product and its competitors.
The justification for giving "Nice to have" features the elbow is that "We won't lose any sales by not having it". This is not unlike " I never had an iPod when I was a boy" or " "Heating in cars? They'll be wanting electric windows next! What the customer wants is good British engineering"
Two years later when the competitors all have the "Nice to have" feature, everyone says "Why didn't we think of that?"
.... If he's not careful, the product manager will take the blame.
Not invented here.
Applies to products bought in from outside the organisation or procedures devised by consultants or managers without sufficient consultation of the people involved.
The term is used to explain an attitude where full co-operation is seen to be lacking.
No blame culture
In the bad old days, a lot of executives' time was spent looking for someone to blame.
Now expressions like " I just want to understand how we can avoid this scenario in the future" are used.
Once the understanding is complete, the culprit can be fired.
If some conclusion is a "no brainer", it means that it is so obvious that it did not require the use of any brain power to arrive at it.
In other words it was not "rocket science"
It just sounds more in control than saying "Its really jolly difficult" (which is something no can-do Manager wants to be heard saying.)
Outside this meeting.
Everyone is staring at you for bringing up a tricky subject which is not trivial so you clear your throat, rustle your papers and say "We'll take it off line" and everybody heaves a sigh of relief.
Used in relation to contractors and consultants, this means "Ready to go with no training and the minimum of briefing."
There is no intention to suggest that consultants are turkeys...
Piece, Across the
It used to be "across the board" but now UK Government Ministers like to talk about things being "across the piece".
This is a little puzzling to my friend Jeff.
According to him, a board is, like, the whole thing while a piece, like, if you are talking about Chess is just, like, one 64th of a board innit?
So, are we actually talking about 1/64th of a board here?
My friend Jeff suggests that maybe people,like, gave up talking about "Across the Board" when everybody, like, started displaying these stickers "Baby on Board" in the backs of their SUVs. So, like, you can't get across the board anymore for all these babies, right?
Seems perfectly plausible to me, Jeff.
(I do wish he wouldn't keep saying "like". I'm getting really fed up of it.)
This could be the new "State of the Art" couldn't it? After all here we are at "Today" and post modern will be er later er....won't it? Except that a lot of things that are claimed to be post-modern date back to the 1930s. I'm confused. And I am not alone...
Here, according to Wikipedia is what Dick Hebdige in his "Hiding in the Light" says about postmodernity:
"When it becomes possible for a people to describe as 'postmodern' the décor of a room, the design of a building, the diegesis of a film, the construction of a record, or a 'scratch' video, a television commercial, or an arts documentary, or the 'intertextual' relations between them, the layout of a page in a fashion magazine or critical journal, an anti-teleological tendency within epistemology, the attack on the 'metaphysics of presence' a general attenuation of feeling, the collective chagrin and morbid projections of a post-War generation of baby boomers confronting disillusioned middle-age, the 'predicament of reflexitivity, a group of rhetorical tropes, a proliferation of surfaces, a new phase in commodity fetishism, a fascination for images, codes and styles, a process of cultural, political or existential fragmentation and/or crisis, the 'de-centring' of the subject, an 'incredulity towards metanarratives', the replacement of unitary power axes by a plurality of power/discourse formations, the 'implosion of meaning', the collapse of cultural hierarchies, the dread engendered by the threat of nuclear self-destruction, the decline of the university, the functioning and effects of the new miniaturised technologies, broad societal and economic shifts into a 'media', 'consumer' or 'multinational' phase, a sense (depending on who you read) of 'placelessness' or the abandonment of 'placelessness' (critical regionalism) or (even) a generalised substitution of spatial for temporal coordinates: when it becomes possible to describe all these things as 'postmodern' (or more simply using a current abbreviation as 'post' or 'very post') then it's clear we are in the presence of a buzzword."
Nuff said. Once I have worked out how to use words like "Antiteleological" and "Epistemology", not to mention "Metanarratives", I'll come up with a better definition of "Postmodern".
It won't be soon.
Pushing the Envelope
This has got nothing to do with the eternal collections for people who are leaving, getting married or having a baby. It is pushing the boundaries of perceived possibilities to a higher level. e.g. "We have really pushed the envelope on this one", meaning "It actually works!"
Every so often a failing product is saved by "repositioning".
This simply means that it's appeal is moved to a different market sector by a change in the emphasis of the advertising or the placement of the advertising.
Sometimes this repositioning is accidental as exemplified by the adoption of the famous Burberry check by chavs, a nightmare scenario for Burberry which peaked with a Vauxhall car with a Burberry check paint job, known as the "Chavalier" being offered for sale on eBay.
Burberry are now re-repositioning their product line by reducing its check content from 20% to 5%.
Term used by managers with severely limited people skills.
"Resource" is actually people. However, unlike "people" it is not quantified in units but is something like manure or coal. You just shovel a little more on and the job is magically done.
The most common usage is "We have insufficient resource".
By using the term "resource" instead of "people", managers believe that they can admit to not having enough people without stirring up the overworked "resource" in question or coming under fire from senior management for criticising employment and recruitment policies.
The cure for limited resource is to ask the HR Manager (qv) to procure the necessary "shortfall" (Another good codeword for "people")
Both "Resource" and "shortfall" are particularly irritating to the actual resource in question when it is a single unit who is performing the work of 4.7 units, 3.7 of which will not be replaced any time soon.