Written by Danny Buckle
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Tuesday, 1 May 2007

We've all heard phrases like 'This is a solution to leverage new opportunities in the target sector" haven't we. Is it a form of language that we need to learn if we are to 'get on', or is it just a load of bollocks!

My guess is - it's the latter. Management speak is an obstacle deliberately put in the path of outsiders to confuse and isolate them.


Management dialects
Just like any other language Management Speak isn't simply something you can pick up and suddenly your in, oh no, even if you are a manager you can find your self lost if you turn up to a meeting organised by another department. Management speak has its dialects. You may be fluent in financial clap trap but go into the IT department and it's like entering a whole new world with jargon abound. But it seems that some business areas are worse offenders than others.

If the financial department speak some sort of middle English the IT department are speaking the equivalent of broad Yorkshire. You get the general idea of what they are talking about but a lot of what they say goes right over your head. "I'm sorry the system is currently undergoing unplanned downtime because you didn't define your SLA's adequately' in-other-words the system is down and you should have told us you wanted it switched on Monday to Friday during normal office hours.

If you thought the IT department was bad wait till you get to the Marketing department. Talking bollocks is positively an art form. I once heard one female marketer say, "ok, we need to think outside the box, but let's not go solutioneering here ok? We are looking for synergistic benefits that we can leverage from the existing infrastructure but we are going to need senior management buy in. We want quick wins, to enhance the brand and marginalise our big box competitors"

If you understand that, you need a slap!

I was just hoping someone would have the guts to stand up, do the same to her and reply in some so sort of street lingo like 'yeah but no but yeah, wat u is sayin is nuthin man. Talk it like we understand it sister,!. U is beatin round da bush wiv a bird in da hand an it makes me head hurt. You no wot I is sayin. Yo!"


Invent your own
If your role or department is subject to criticism like 'what have you delivered to the business in the last 12 months' and 'Do you actually do anything' You can deflect or even prevent this condemnation by disguising what it is you do. Simply provide your own brand of Management Speak. Confuse the opposition and misdirect them in order to escape job cuts. It really works, look at HR, a lot of companies have whole departments dedicated to doing what was once a normal part of a managers job, and does the HR department do anything? No they outsource (sorry, get someone else to do the work for them) to recruitment agencies but they survive because they all have diplomas in the art of management bollocks.

There's a direct correlation between the value of a job role and the amount of Management Speak it produces. There ought to be some sort of law that says something like "The amount of verbal bollocks will increase in direct proportion to the worthlessness of the job role".

Yeah, that sounds about right. If there are any egg heads reading this I think it's a valid area of study. Perhaps you can come up with some equation to back up my theory.

Hail of bullets
I'd like to test the relevance of all this Management Bollocks in action? I suppose hypothetically you could put an offender into a life or death situation like commanding a platoon in Iraq and see how is gobbledygook stands up. "Ok chaps, listen up, the General has asked me to cascade this message to you. We have some actionable tasks on our to-do list. We have to neutralise these local insurgents, so if anyone has any ideas to bring to the table lets get networking and mix it up a bit. I know what your thinking, it's another exercise in box ticking but we have hoops to jump through so lets use our assets to maximise our output and go for the low hanging fruit. Currently we are in the black but there are a few grey areas that the general will see red about if we get a blue on blue situation, understand?

Without doubt management bollocks would die in hail of bullets as soon as it raised its head above the parapet.

Is management speak a load of bollocks

Management Speak on the BBC

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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