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(The Atlantic)   How buzzwords are affecting our brains, synergizing our neural resources and ensuring we work smarter, not harder   (theatlantic.com) divider line 95
    More: PSA, Harvard College, industrial revolution, trucking companies, physical environment, scientific revolution, Pepsico, Andrew Carnegie, hierarchy of needs  
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2460 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Apr 2014 at 6:26 AM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-25 08:42:18 AM
I'll touch base with you after I finish my TPS reports.
 
2014-04-25 08:45:06 AM

Pants full of macaroni!!: I'll touch base with you after I finish my TPS reports.


Fun fact:  TPS reports are a real thing!  I always thought they were made up for the movie, and that the acronym didn't stand for anything.  Or maybe it stood for "This Place Sucks".
 
2014-04-25 08:47:28 AM

Skr: Always time to Party On with a game of Chess or Twister. Good team building activities.


I worked at a place once where we all put a Lego plane together. I've never felt closer to other human beings than I did during that two-hour activity.
 
2014-04-25 08:48:58 AM
I am surprised subby used the word "affecting". All I hear these days is the improper use of impact/impacting. What is colliding with what now?
 
2014-04-25 08:49:00 AM

Pants full of macaroni!!: Pants full of macaroni!!: I'll touch base with you after I finish my TPS reports.

Fun fact:  TPS reports are a real thing!  I always thought they were made up for the movie, and that the acronym didn't stand for anything.  Or maybe it stood for "This Place Sucks".


 I worked for a large computer company back in the 80s.  I spent many an hour uploading FU2 files.  I always thought it was an acronym for "File Upload Revision 2" but we would all chuckle that it also could stand for "Fark you too".  Actually ment the developer of the program one time and he admitted he actually named it after the latter, made my day.

/I got nothing.
 
2014-04-25 08:49:33 AM

sno man: Cold_Sassy: [i403.photobucket.com image 182x277]I hate "buzzwords". Every time I hear something for the 100rdth time =

We need to find efficiencies in our approach to delivering our core message.


Shut UP. ;)

Fortunately, since those days of "there is no I in team, etc, I have found a job in which I have the coolest boss in the world, I am never hassled as long as I am a good employee and in three years I've heard nary a buzzword uttered.
 
2014-04-25 08:51:16 AM

mdeesnuts: muck1969: there are so many useless office-speak word-salad lines to hate, but the phrase "with that said" pisses me off the most. there are better words or phrases that could have been used to describe if the previous statement is in support of, or in contrast to, the subsequent statement. using "synergy" in place of "teamwork" is a close second. the snark in this thread is inspiring.

I literally have to restrain myself from punching anyone who says "It is what it is."

/I do get a small bit of satisfaction picturing them on floor with a bloody face, though


OMG this. I had an idiot project manager (really, it wasn't just me saying the guy was a dumbass that was probably in a just world would have been the guy sweeping the floors at a construction site) that ALWAYS used that phrase when presented with a problem, and a solution to said problem. Would do nothing to fix it even when the solution was simple and low to zero cost, he'd just say "it is what it is" and move on. Maddening.

After that job was over, I had an interview with another, much larger firm, where everybody around the conference table seemed to be playing buzzword bingo. I was never so glad to get out of what turned out to be a lengthy interview, and had never hoped so much to -not- get a call back. I guess I'm just not cut out for that type of culture.
 
2014-04-25 08:51:41 AM

TheGogmagog: Our H.R. is full of SME's who want our S.M.A.R.T. goals submitted for our A.P.R. process.  No time for full words, let alone buzzwords.

/I need a list of smart goals that sound good yet I can achieve without doing anything.


somehow I read that as "smart goats"
 
2014-04-25 08:53:39 AM

mdeesnuts: CaitoStreet: I could not agree more. The only thing I hate more then mission statements being trivialized are poorly written mission and vision statements.

Too true. That is why we strive for perfection to create world class products using integrated architectures collaborating in unison with an agile business paradigm achieving continual process improvement.

mdeesnuts: CaitoStreet: I could not agree more. The only thing I hate more then mission statements being trivialized are poorly written mission and vision statements.

Too true. That is why we strive for perfection to create world class products using integrated architectures collaborating in unison with an agile business paradigm achieving continual process improvement.


That is SO 1985.  I got your joke, and know you hate buzzword/corporate-speak as much as I always have.
 
2014-04-25 09:00:18 AM

Cold_Sassy: I got your joke, and know you hate buzzword/corporate-speak as much as I always have.


I think you and I have achieved

*takes glasses off*

synergy.
 
2014-04-25 09:03:40 AM
Boobies.
 
2014-04-25 09:07:26 AM

bighairyguy: Ghastly: What does this mean for our proactive paradigms?

I get a shiver up my spine when I hear the word "proactive".  I had a boss who always withheld crucial information from me when he wasn't actively misleading me about my project.  Then he'd call me in his office and chew me out because I wasn't being "proactive" when I couldn't figure out what he really wanted.


I always hated that term, too.  I always felt like saying "sorry, my crystal ball is in the shop."   But of course I couldn't :(
 
2014-04-25 09:08:09 AM
I was just litteraly asked

"Hey! when we socialized our proposal to the stakeholders did we have any evaluation critera that we could assess them by, you know,  in parrarel. I want to ensure we scratched everyone's itch."


I have no farking clue what he is talking about.  I told him I'd circle back later.
 
2014-04-25 09:10:43 AM

Whatchoo Talkinbout: Boobies.


Let's get in touch.
 
2014-04-25 09:16:40 AM

Danger Mouse: I was just litteraly asked

"Hey! when we socialized our proposal to the stakeholders did we have any evaluation critera that we could assess them by, you know,  in parrarel. I want to ensure we scratched everyone's itch."


I have no farking clue what he is talking about.  I told him I'd circle back later.


Tell him you have a concern that the deliverables may not have been synergized with the envisioned endpoint state and that you may have to re-visit the overall tasking.  Then ask how long the runway is on this.

If that doesn't shut him up, shoot him.
 
2014-04-25 09:25:28 AM
 
2014-04-25 09:29:16 AM
justaguy516

Mission statements, by their very nature, are meant to be inflexible and non-negotiable. In my mind, when I see a mission statement, I always mentally add a "no matter what" to the end of it. And therein lies the rub; for most companies and businesses, the real mission statement is (and should be, probably) "make moar money". The stuff that you see on company board-rooms, is, excepting some honourable exceptions, hypocritical garbage.


CSB:

I was fired a year ago. We had a new VP come in to our small business, and we had a big 3-day company meeting (for a company of 25 people) to talk about and "collaboratively create" our mission statement. I immediately shot my hand up and asked,

Me: "Isn't that CEO's and your job? I mean, you can ask us, but as far as we're concerned, isn't our mission statement to make you more money by doing what you ask of us?"
CEO and VP: "Take this seriously. We're taking this seriously."
Me: "If you are willing to commit to what is decided, then OK."

So we talked about a mission statement, and we made a big deal about 1) transitioning to modern tools (we were *still* using VB6\COM for major products) and 2) Taking time to build robust software. "We're in the business of building polished Mercedes, not functional Yugos" was the mantra.

Flash forward 3 months:

CEO: "Hey, development team, work on this VB6 application I started tinkering with wrote with a poorly designed database. No, you can't write it in anything else, because otherwise I won't understand it, and it'll take too long."

Me: "Didn't we just have a whole discussion on this? CEO, it's outdated technology, the database is not well-designed, and it isn't going to play well with all the other new things we are building. Trust me, let us build it right with proper architecture so that it can grow and scale. That's why you hired us."

CEO: "Your here to make money. I can sell this to a customer today. Get it done."

Me: "I don't know what to say to that... I simply refuse as this is completely against the mission statement we all, including you, agreed on."

Fired next day.

/would rather be fired than have to work on that shiat
 
2014-04-25 09:33:04 AM

John the Magnificent: Danger Mouse: I was just litteraly asked

"Hey! when we socialized our proposal to the stakeholders did we have any evaluation critera that we could assess them by, you know,  in parrarel. I want to ensure we scratched everyone's itch."


I have no farking clue what he is talking about.  I told him I'd circle back later.

Tell him you have a concern that the deliverables may not have been synergized with the envisioned endpoint state and that you may have to re-visit the overall tasking.  Then ask how long the runway is on this.

If that doesn't shut him up, shoot him.


That actaully makes sense.  He's in the next cube dropping acronyms.    He's talking about "Organic Opportunities"

I shiat you not.
 
2014-04-25 09:35:53 AM

mdeesnuts: CaitoStreet: I could not agree more. The only thing I hate more then mission statements being trivialized are poorly written mission and vision statements.

Too true. That is why we strive for perfection to create world class products using integrated architectures collaborating in unison with an agile business paradigm achieving continual process improvement.


Can't YouTube at work, but this thread needs some Better Off Ted.
 
2014-04-25 09:38:06 AM
Yeah, the old "Work smarter not harder..."

I tell my crew to worker smarter AND harder...
 
2014-04-25 09:42:09 AM

Clever Neologism: justaguy516

Mission statements, by their very nature, are meant to be inflexible and non-negotiable. In my mind, when I see a mission statement, I always mentally add a "no matter what" to the end of it. And therein lies the rub; for most companies and businesses, the real mission statement is (and should be, probably) "make moar money". The stuff that you see on company board-rooms, is, excepting some honourable exceptions, hypocritical garbage.


CSB:

I was fired a year ago. We had a new VP come in to our small business, and we had a big 3-day company meeting (for a company of 25 people) to talk about and "collaboratively create" our mission statement. I immediately shot my hand up and asked,

Me: "Isn't that CEO's and your job? I mean, you can ask us, but as far as we're concerned, isn't our mission statement to make you more money by doing what you ask of us?"
CEO and VP: "Take this seriously. We're taking this seriously."
Me: "If you are willing to commit to what is decided, then OK."

So we talked about a mission statement, and we made a big deal about 1) transitioning to modern tools (we were *still* using VB6\COM for major products) and 2) Taking time to build robust software. "We're in the business of building polished Mercedes, not functional Yugos" was the mantra.

Flash forward 3 months:

CEO: "Hey, development team, work on this VB6 application I started tinkering with wrote with a poorly designed database. No, you can't write it in anything else, because otherwise I won't understand it, and it'll take too long."

Me: "Didn't we just have a whole discussion on this? CEO, it's outdated technology, the database is not well-designed, and it isn't going to play well with all the other new things we are building. Trust me, let us build it right with proper architecture so that it can grow and scale. That's why you hired us."

CEO: "Your here to make money. I can sell this to a customer today. Get it done."

Me: "I don't know what to say to that ...


You took anything said in that meeting at face value? I would have spent the entire thing drawing pictures of boobies, and/or trying not to snicker or fall asleep.
 
2014-04-25 09:44:14 AM
Yeah, the old "Work smarter not harder..."

I tell my crew to worker smarter AND harder...

That's "work" not worker....
 Doh!
 
2014-04-25 09:51:47 AM

Lenny_da_Hog: enthralledgeishagirl: All we need is a mission statement and we will be able to begin our journey

Those are the ones that piss me off the most, as someone who did a lot of industrial policy writing and training.

Mission statements are actually important for policy writing -- The Preamble to the Constitution is a mission statement. It tells you everything you're trying to accomplish by establishing an administration or project plan.

Then along come seminar gurus pushing buzzwords to middle-managers who don't really understand what they mean. They diminish the importance by applying it to everything, and then when you try to train someone using the phrase "mission statement," they think they're being patronized and roll their eyes at you.


So call it something other than "mission statement" now that that term has become cliche. Invent your own buzzword.
 
2014-04-25 09:52:47 AM

Dadburns: Yeah, the old "Work smarter not harder..."

I tell my crew to worker smarter AND harder...


Wow, you're really thinking outside the box.
 
2014-04-25 10:05:47 AM
Smarter?
Special High Intensity Training
Referred by: Comprehensive Remedial Advisory Panel
 
2014-04-25 10:15:20 AM

Danger Mouse: I was just litteraly asked

"Hey! when we socialized our proposal to the stakeholders did we have any evaluation critera that we could assess them by, you know,  in parrarel. I want to ensure we scratched everyone's itch."


I have no farking clue what he is talking about.  I told him I'd circle back later.


Ooh! I speak buzzwords! Let me help!

He asked if there was any way to tell if your proposal was good or not.
 
2014-04-25 10:54:54 AM
Maybe you.
 
2014-04-25 11:13:09 AM
When I worked for NCR corporation, they refused to use the terms 'employee' or 'worker'.

We were 'assets', which implied that we were equipment to be abused and sold of as needed.
 
2014-04-25 11:39:35 AM

Clever Neologism: justaguy516

Mission statements, by their very nature, are meant to be inflexible and non-negotiable. In my mind, when I see a mission statement, I always mentally add a "no matter what" to the end of it. And therein lies the rub; for most companies and businesses, the real mission statement is (and should be, probably) "make moar money". The stuff that you see on company board-rooms, is, excepting some honourable exceptions, hypocritical garbage.


CSB:

I was fired a year ago. We had a new VP come in to our small business, and we had a big 3-day company meeting (for a company of 25 people) to talk about and "collaboratively create" our mission statement. I immediately shot my hand up and asked,

Me: "Isn't that CEO's and your job? I mean, you can ask us, but as far as we're concerned, isn't our mission statement to make you more money by doing what you ask of us?"
CEO and VP: "Take this seriously. We're taking this seriously."
Me: "If you are willing to commit to what is decided, then OK."

So we talked about a mission statement, and we made a big deal about 1) transitioning to modern tools (we were *still* using VB6\COM for major products) and 2) Taking time to build robust software. "We're in the business of building polished Mercedes, not functional Yugos" was the mantra.

Flash forward 3 months:

CEO: "Hey, development team, work on this VB6 application I started tinkering with wrote with a poorly designed database. No, you can't write it in anything else, because otherwise I won't understand it, and it'll take too long."

Me: "Didn't we just have a whole discussion on this? CEO, it's outdated technology, the database is not well-designed, and it isn't going to play well with all the other new things we are building. Trust me, let us build it right with proper architecture so that it can grow and scale. That's why you hired us."

CEO: "Your here to make money. I can sell this to a customer today. Get it done."

Me: "I don't know what to say to that... I simply refuse as this is completely against the mission statement we all, including you, agreed on."

Fired next day.

/would rather be fired than have to work on that shiat


If you don't mind, I'd like to be a little bit serious for a moment. Your attitude and perspective are both disruptive and confrontational. There is a reason for that: you need to own your own business and not work for someone else. I had the exact same disposition and was fired from every job I ever had (7). I was practically forced to start my own company because no one liked my attitude (that I was smarter than everyone else and had better ideas than my managers) and I resisted my incompetent leaders.

Anyway, today I'm pretty rich and don't have to listen to idiotic terms like "solutions based" and "going forward". I obviously don't know you, but I think you'll be much happier (and wealthier) doing you own thing.

You are an entrepreneur.
 
2014-04-25 11:43:56 AM

Danger Mouse: John the Magnificent: Danger Mouse: I was just litteraly asked

"Hey! when we socialized our proposal to the stakeholders did we have any evaluation critera that we could assess them by, you know,  in parrarel. I want to ensure we scratched everyone's itch."


I have no farking clue what he is talking about.  I told him I'd circle back later.

Tell him you have a concern that the deliverables may not have been synergized with the envisioned endpoint state and that you may have to re-visit the overall tasking.  Then ask how long the runway is on this.

If that doesn't shut him up, shoot him.

That actaully makes sense.  He's in the next cube dropping acronyms.    He's talking about "Organic Opportunities"

I shiat you not.


Fark it.

Shoot him.
 
2014-04-25 11:45:09 AM
"The boss gathered the managers for an emergency meeting and said game-changingskillsets. Yolo."

http://projects.wsj.com/buzzwords2014/
 
2014-04-25 12:24:57 PM
Yeah, you know what's not managing? When an employee comes to you with a legitimate problem that he has tried to resolve a few different ways and the manager emails back with "Think outside the box" and nothing else.

/CSB. Happened to me.
//within the last year
///these people actually exist!
 
2014-04-25 12:30:37 PM

Gaambit: Yeah, you know what's not managing? When an employee comes to you with a legitimate problem that he has tried to resolve a few different ways and the manager emails back with "Think outside the box" and nothing else


That's because most managers know precisely dick so they just wing it. That's probably the reason for all the douchebag buzzwords and meaningless catch phrases.
 
2014-04-25 12:36:08 PM

Skr: "Be excellent to each other" is my favorite motto to live by.


img.fark.net

I concur.
 
2014-04-25 12:59:35 PM
Spoiler alert:  The "test" is a load of crap.

/load of crap is my office buzzword
 
2014-04-25 01:07:36 PM
i work for one of those kinda companies where they talk like that.

/urge to kill...RISING!
 
2014-04-25 03:03:09 PM
English motherfarker, do you speak it?
 
2014-04-25 03:05:25 PM
Yeah, the old "Work smarter not harder..."

That originally meant something. It was a good idea: Think about better ways to get the job done. But it's been parroted too much by people who really mean, "I'm not giving you any more resources to do this task, and I won't pay for overtime."
 
2014-04-25 03:49:11 PM
devcentral.f5.com
 
2014-04-25 04:51:56 PM

John the Magnificent: CaitoStreet: Lenny_da_Hog: enthralledgeishagirl: All we need is a mission statement and we will be able to begin our journey

Those are the ones that piss me off the most, as someone who did a lot of industrial policy writing and training.

Mission statements are actually important for policy writing -- The Preamble to the Constitution is a mission statement. It tells you everything you're trying to accomplish by establishing an administration or project plan.

Then along come seminar gurus pushing buzzwords to middle-managers who don't really understand what they mean. They diminish the importance by applying it to everything, and then when you try to train someone using the phrase "mission statement," they think they're being patronized and roll their eyes at you.

I could not agree more. The only thing I hate more then mission statements being trivialized are poorly written mission and vision statements.

I watched a program back in the early 00's where Norman Schwartzkopf was being interviewed by a bunch of teenagers about the Gulf War.  One asked him how he managed to hold the Coalition together, given that it was made up mostly of factions that hated each other.  His reply was that it was simple.  They constructed a Mission Statement that went along the lines of "Our Mission is to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.  Period."  Everything else was either set aside or ignored as irrelevant to the mission at hand.  I have always thought of this as the perfect archetype of a Mission Statement.

Most corporate missions statement are BS, and the people who write them should feel badly about themselves.


See, that's exactly what I'm talking about. There's no bullshiat. It's to the point and literally defines what you're all working towards. That, to me, is a proper mission statement.
 
2014-04-25 04:59:59 PM

gerbilpox: By making us think outside the box, that's how. Duh.


Outside the box? My synergistic enterprises are so ahead of the paradigm curve, I'm thinking INSIDE the box.
 
2014-04-25 05:37:50 PM
stancarey.files.wordpress.comdilbert.com
 
2014-04-25 10:28:33 PM
Too lazy to Google, but there was a Baby Blues comic strip a couple of months ago:

Wife: So did you have a productive day?
Husband: I synergised with my empowerment team to find best practices to leverage our core competencies going forward. And you?
Wife: I made two trays of ice cubes.
Husband: You win.
 
2014-04-25 11:13:58 PM

leonel: gerbilpox: By making us think outside the box, that's how. Duh.

Outside the box? My synergistic enterprises are so ahead of the paradigm curve, I'm thinking INSIDE the box.


I'm a pervert so I'm thinking about the box
 
2014-04-26 03:44:23 PM
Missing from the set of buzzwords / euphemisms / obfuscations are some that I hear regularly:

* Above / below the line
* Is / Is-Not
* Critical path / long pole (in the schedule)
* At the end of the day
* Action item
* Alignment
* Key differentiators
* Going forward / go forward position.  (Yes, I've heard someone say "What's our go-forward position?")
* Release, as a euphemism for terminated/laid off.  ("So-and-so has a release date in two weeks.")

Some of these are actually useful for stating goals clearly.  Is/Is-Not and Above/Below the Line give a structure for framing your commitments.  "This is a succinct list of what I'm doing, and what I'm not doing.  If you want me to change that list, we can negotiate."

Others are so much filler.  "At the end of the day" is a way of saying "all these details you're worrying about don't matter so much if we end up in the right place."  Except, when the details include "where we want to go" and "is it feasible to get there."

Alignment has quite a lot of political charge behind it.  Since the folks with the checkbooks at the top want to write as few checks as possible, they want all their businesses to share as much effort as possible.  No sense reinventing the wheel in two places and paying for both, right?  Except, sometimes you're asked to align wheels for an earth mover with wheels for a bicycle.  At that point, you need to bring in The Expert.
 
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