The Lexicon Of Bullshittery

The world of work is full of nonsense. This post is a compilation of three others that I’ve posted previously. I thought I’d only have to do it once but the well of corporate bullshit seems never to run dry. Enjoy.

110 percent – The inverse amount of humility required for a job in sales

360 degree review – A performance review that makes your head spin

80/20 Rule – What you invoke to excuse yourself from reading the whole report.

Accountability – What dimwit recruiters in the Financial Services sector go looking for.

Action – Doing things for someone whose ego is bigger than their testicles.

Actual Space Utilization – Metric used when figuring out how Bob from Accounts takes 3 hours in the loo on a Thursday afternoon with a copy of The Racing Post.

Agility – Getting out of the office un-noticed at 3:30pm on a Friday.

Align – The thing that gets drawn under HR efforts to get all cosy and strategic with “the business”.

Alternative Workplace Strategy – Plan by the business to have you do as much of your work at the bus stop (see below) as possible so as to reduce the amount of desks or workspace they have to pay for.

Alternative Workplace – Wherever you end up working when you’re being flexible (bus stop, cupboard under stairs, coffee shop, loo, supermarket, crowded cinema, mother’s funeral, child’s school play etc.)

Amplify – Shouting down efforts to discuss gender pay equality at the AGM.

Anonymize – Taking your name off of a project update that paints you in a bad light

At the end of the day – That which never arrives in modern business

Augmented reality – Steve from the Sales team has been inflating the pipeline again.

Authenticity – When the boss finally gets round to having that open and honest chat with Bob from Accounts.

Autonomy – The half hour enjoyed by the rest of the department when the manager slips away early on a Friday afternoon.

Bae – Your rather shifty BFF who works in the defence, security and aerospace industry.

Baked-in – The feeling you get after too many cupcakes at an HR meeting

Balls in the air – Left hanging after a car park conversation

Bandwith – The CEO’s waistline after a long lunch meeting

Baseline – The minimum effort you can put in and still get away with it

Benchmarking – Desperately looking for something to support a business case.

Best practice – After repeated failures, what you are told to go away and do

Best Practice – What you cite to a client, seeking to excuse yourself from any real innovation.

Big Data – A great opportunity to make up for an even greater lack of insight

Bleeding edge – What you get from banging your head on the desk in frustration with your co-workers

Blended learning – Googling the answers to your company’s e-learning questionnaire whilst completing it.

Boiling the ocean – What the intern feels she’s doing when being made to prepare hot drinks for a board meeting

Building Management System – Dave from FM with his bag of spanners.

Business Intelligence – A commonly used oxymoron.

Buy-in – Bribing a colleague to do the work you can’t be bothered to

BYOD – An unofficially sanctioned initiative to avoid employing an IT helpdesk.

CAD – Complicated And Distracting.

CAFM – Costly And Frequently Mis-used.

Carbon Footprint – The mess in the print room after Dave from FM tried to change the toner with his bag of spanners.

CFO – A person in a race to the bottom line

Chinese wall – What you cite to avoid having to deal with awkward internal comms issues

Circulation -That which is affected by trying to meet client demands at the last minute.

Cloud Based Computing – The inevitable consequence of years of rising hot air about the future of workplace technology.

Coaching – What your boss thinks he’s doing when he spends the first half hour of your appraisal telling you how he got where he is.

Co-creation – An offer to put in all of the effort for none of the credit.

Collaboration – Delegation, but with nicer biscuits.

Community – Enough people to get a really good group rant going about the place you work at.

Competencies – The list of skills your boss wishes his team had.

Competitive advantage – A permanent formatting feature of any pitch document.

Content – Something comforting to read beside the pool whilst happily on holiday with your bonus.

Continuous improvement – What you say you’re doing to excuse repeated cock-ups

COO – Chief Obfuscation Officer

Corporate Culture – What happens when the management aren’t looking too closely.

Cross–training – Sending Bob from Finance to shadow the sales guys so you don’t have to deal with his body odour

Curation – A very small trumpet, earnestly blown.

Deep dive – What you’re told someone is going to do before they fail to set aside enough time

De-layering – Having one less filling in your sandwich from Pret

De-skilling – What an organisation undertakes before deciding it needs to bring in outside expertise.

Dialogue – Verbal diarrhoea suffered by focus groups

Digital Signage – That team from Marketing are holding a cake sale again.

Discretionary Bonus – The one that got away.

Disenfranchise – The fate of Blockbuster

Disruption – A tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Divergent thinking – Coming up with a stupid idea right after someone says “There’s no such thing as a stupid idea”.

Diversity – A differing of views over whether to introduce quotas in the board room

Dovetail – What you see right before the bird craps on you

Due Diligence – All the stuff you then ignore

Ecosystem – The cultured slime that grows in the petri dish of workplaces.

Efficient Space Utilisation – What Bob from Accounts (see above) will claim he’s practising if ever challenged.

eLearning – What you have to do when there aren’t enough meeting rooms available.

Elevator pitch – The heightened tone of voice adopted by someone asking for a raise.

Emotional intelligence – The art of never showing your feelings at work

Employee Champion – Finding someone else people can whinge to.

Employee Engagement – Exactly the same as when your partner emits a heavy sigh and you ask what’s wrong and they answer “Nothing, I’m fine.” and you go back to watching Homeland.

Empowerment – The feeling you get when you finally find somewhere to recharge your various devices whilst enjoying a bout of flexible working.

Energy Management System – Taking the lift instead of the stairs.

Equality – The standard of WiFi connectivity you get in your workplace versus that which you were led to expect.

Ethics – A county to the east of London.

Facetime – Time spent with your head in your hands in frustration after another pointless meeting

Facilitation – A cologne that smells of scented pens

Fail forward – AKA Passing the buck

Fishbowl – Customer insight that you ignore until the fish dies and has to be flushed down the toilet

Full optics – Setting up the bar the night before the annual sales conference

Functional Zoning – Ensuring the guy who smells a bit funny sits next to the one window that can be opened.

Gain-sharing – What you propose to a client when you want to have a really good disagreement.

Game changers – The workplace equivalent of your stroppy teenage daughter sweeping the Monopoly set off the dining room table in a fit of pique because she came second in a beauty contest after drawing a card from the Community Chest.

Gamification – The inter-office Fantasy Football League.

Going forward – Direction of travel for a business with regressive management practices

Hacking – The kind of cough you hear in a meeting when someone suggests an employee engagement programme

Happiness – What wellbeing consultants have in lieu of mortgage payments.

Helicopter view – Staying well out of the way as a project fails in spectacular fashion.

Holocracy – An optical illusion used to disguise your Taylorist leanings

Honest and open – The type of chat that results in a written note on your employee record

Hot Desking – A practice whereby once a week you get to spend time with the IT helpdesk getting your wireless reconfigured and have a seat with a team from internal audit with a chinese wall so strict in place it makes Omerta look like your fabulously indiscreet Aunty Betty.

Hotelling – Like hot desking but reminds you of that really cute guy on the concierge desk you flirted with at last year’s WorkTech in Singapore.

Human capital – The CFO’s chess set

Human-centred – A confection commonly filled by breaking butterflies on wheels.

Ideation – The differentiation of ideas thought up by consultants versus things you could have come up with yourself

Impactful – Facepalming done by employees when they discover what the latest workplace change programme is supposed to achieve.

Innovation – Spending all that time you saved going #noemail managing all those productivity apps you’ve downloaded.

Internet of things – How the CEO views your company’s internal social network.

Interoperability – The futile hope that, just for once, you can have a project on which HR and IT don’t end up actively working against each other.

IWMS – It Was My Suggestion, or what the Head of Real Estate says when the CEO makes complimentary comments on the new water feature/slide/ping pong table/palm court/Gaggia.

-ize – As in “Uberize”. The uncontrollable desire of the marketing department to jump on any passing bandwagon.

Knowledge Worker – A Googler.

Ladder up – On being promoted, to pull the ladder up after you so nobody else can share in the glory.

Lean in – Getting closer to the toilet bowl to throw up after hearing the CEO speak at the latest Town Hall

Leverage – What Roy from IT has over you after he stumbled on those candid photos of your girlfriend on your laptop.

Low hanging fruit – Where you feel you’ve been kicked after your latest pay review

Lunch and learn – An opportunity to do the former at the expense of the latter

Machine learning – The relentlessness of the corporate L&D function.

Mastery – The art of being just good enough to keep getting away with it.

Matrix organisation – A business where the CEO tries to subdue dissent by taking the job titles off the org charts

Mentoring – Giving the office bore an opportunity to patronize the junior staff .

Meritocracy – An organisation in which mediocrity rises to the top

Millenials – To recruitment consultants, everybody (i.e. they think we were all born yesterday).

Mindfulness – What we can all now say we are practising when someone catches us staring wistfully out of the window on a dreary, damp Thursday afternoon.

Mission Statement – A list of vague terms that are deliberately left open to interpretation.

Mobile Interface – Pretending to be on your Blackberry when you see an unpopular member of staff approaching you at a social event.

Mobility – Moving desks to avoid the office bore.

Move the dial – A term used by the kind of person whose only real responsibility in the office is to adjust the AC controls

Neuroscience – Giving an air of respectability to crackpot theories about what motivates us at work.

Non-financial Benefit – Being allowed to keep your job.

Offline – Code for something you don’t want to discuss in front of a superior or client

Offshoring – A form of outsourcing where you ensure that mistakes are made at arms length.

On Demand – The kind of service you are lead to expect once you’ve had your wirelesss reconfigured by IT, found a spare desk, connected to the network, found a printer and logged your roaming profile into the desk phone.

On my radar – “…so I can avoid it.”

Onboarding – The first three hours in a new job where you sit in a windowless room and read reams of company policy manuals

Organic growth – The unidentifiable thing left in the back of the communal fridge

Peel the onion – Sobbing quietly to yourself after finding you’ve been passed over for promotion.

Peer review – Your co-workers get together to highlight your shortcomings

Peer Review – Collective procrastination.

Ping me – Your boss asks you to warm up his leftover curry in the communal microwave.

Pivot – A corporate u-turn (e.g. now we want you all to come back and work in the office because it’ll improve collaboration and innovation).

Planned Space Utilisation – That chat HR need to have with Bob from Accounts.

Powerpoint – A presentation by management to demonstrate their superiority

Prayer meeting – What happens right after you’ve submitted a proposal to the client

Presence Detection – Keeping an eye out for the boss so you can carry on goofing around on the internet.

Presenteeism – The whip round for whoever celebrates their birthday this week

Purpose – The steely glint in Dan Pink’s eye as he bounds on stage to tell us the surprising truth about what motivates us.

Reach out – Having to finally talk to that person you’ve been studiously avoiding

Ready, aim, fire – Instructions to HR from the CEO for the latest round of employee negotiations

Real Estate Management – Trying to convince senior executives that you’re a strategic partner to the business.

Real Time Occupancy Data – What you see is what you get.

Resource Management – Make do and mend.

Reverse-engineering – Dissecting a failed project in an attempt to find someone to blame

Rocket science – The fireworks that ensue if any really does challenge the status quo.

SaaS – Shortcomings and additional Slip-ups.

Scalability – Corporate ladder-climbing.

Scientific Management – What your COO is thinking about when he gets that faraway look during strategy meetings.

Scope creep – The person who moves the goalposts hallway through a project

Seat at the table – Musical chairs for the irrelevant

SEO – Pay-per-view relevance irrespective of usefulness.

Serendipity – What Gavin from Facilities is hoping he’ll get with Stacey from Sales Support when he spends every afternoon hovering by the water cooler.

Shared Workspace – A practice that ensures all employees get a tour of the office every day whilst trying to find a place to work.

Sharing economy – Team pizzas instead of team pay rises.

SME – The smartest person who’s never in the room when the decisions get made

Space Requirements – The implacable in pursuit of the impossible.

Staff on Strength – Those employees not claiming to be off with norovirus.

Stakeholders – What you tell yourself you have to differentiate yourself from someone working in Tesco.

Strategic planning – Navel gazing by people who get paid more than you do

Sustainability – How much longer you can stand to work for people who don’t value your contribution.

Swing Space – Well Google have a slide, don’t they?

Synergy – The energy expended lying to your spouse about why you’re late back from work. Again.

Telecommuter – How you describe yourself in the hope that nobody will notice you spent the first hour of the day trying to return that dress you bought for one wear at the office party.

Telework – They tell ‘im, ‘e works.

Test Fit – A wonderful daydream space planners have on a quiet Friday afternoon.

Tipping point – When your spouse finds out why you’re really late back from work. Again.

Town hall – A place CEOs go to in order to patronise the workforce

Transparency – The apparent consistency of those at the top of public bodies at a time of regional crisis.

Trust – What they give you right before telling you something that compromises your ethics.

Un- – A prefix used to put a cigarette paper between what you’re doing and the flabby, out-of-date, irrelevant thing you did yesterday.

Unicorns – Mythed opportunities.

Values – Bulk purchased laminate wall decals.

Visitor Management – Ensuring people visiting your offices have to spend enough time providing a long list of personal information to cover for the fact that you’re running late from your previous appointment.

Web Based – Where the IT department put all the tools you need to use while they take the wireless network offline for maintenance.

Work/Life Balance – Used to describe something perpetually skewed in someone else’s favour.

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