Workplace phrases every hip manager needs to know

Sometimes sounding knowledgeable can be as important as being knowledgeable. Or something like that.

  1. Boil the ocean: Used as a hyperbole like “reinvent the wheel” to suggest simplifying the process instead of trying to accomplish something revolutionary. Example: “We’re not trying to boil the ocean here, we just want to make a few changes.”
  2. Going native: Describes what happens when a consultant or other outsider who has ties to the organization actually integrates themselves into the corporate culture, and – in so doing – loses the ability to look at situations objectively. It’s the corporate equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome. Example: “When we first hired Jerry to come in and suggest ways we could cut costs and increase profits, he had some great ideas. But ever since he’s gone native, he doesn’t want to suggest any cuts that might result in employees losing their jobs.”
  3. Holistic: Adjective used to describe an initiative or move that will have a major impact on every facet of the organization. Example: “The decision to upgrade our corporate e-mail server had a holistic effect.”
  4. Greenfield instance: Refers to any change or uprgade that requires no training, customization or other complications (a greenfield is a project which lacks any constraints imposed by prior networks). Example: “Looks like we got lucky when we switched back-up servers. The whole thing went off without a hitch. Call it a Greenfield instance.”
  5. Running parallel: Running a control and a test at the same time in order to test the results. Example: “We’ve partnered with Marketing on this and we’re running parallel to see if we can boost response rates.”
  6. Strawman: A demo, first draft or initial proposal meant to initiate discussions and gain feedback on which direction a project should take. Example: “The copy I’m handing out is really just a Strawman document. I’d appreciate it if you could take a look and suggest some ways we can improve upon it.”
  7. Talk to the dogs: Working out a problem or difficulty by brainstorming out loud or verbally reasoning it out with other employees. Example: “I think the best way to tackle this is to get everyone in one room and let the CEO talk to the dogs.”
  8. Use case: Past history that proves an idea will work. Example: “If you look back over the past five years, you’ll find several use cases where we employed the same strategy to boost revenue.”
  9. White paper: Authoritative documentation that explains how a process is supposed to be handled. Example: “Before you get started on this project, you’d be well advised to consult the white paper on running effective beta tests.”
  10. Paradigm: The way a situation’s generally viewed or handled by an organization. Example: Transferring ownership of customer complaints from Sales to Service caused a brief paradigm shift, but we adjusted pretty quickly.”

Based on 12 Workplace Phrases You Probably Don’t Know,” By Christine Lambden and Casey Conner, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, 4/24/09.

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0 thoughts on “Workplace phrases every hip manager needs to know”

  1. Strawman, White Paper, Paradigm?? These have been around quite awhile. Maybe it’s like clothes from another era, they’re being brought back.

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