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November 04, 2006

Adding Value by Pushing Back on Corporate Jargon


  MTT Jargon ahead 
  Originally uploaded by adamdorrell.

It's been two weeks since last posting but rather than dwell on that, it's the weekend, I'm not in the office, and that means it's blogging time.

And speaking of the office, I hadn't realized that I was speaking in corporate jargon until reading the 10/24 column of Cubicle Culture in the WSJ. I've had a running joke with one of our new guys at work about how he does or does not "add value"-- from the article:

(In reference to the family dog belonging to a management consultant: "Eddie, you're not adding value."

No, I don't mean that my colleague is a dog because I've been saying the "how do you add value" joke tongue-in-cheek (mostly) but little did I realize the phrase we use day-in and day-out is now part of the  Office Space lexicon. Maybe I thought we, CEB, were unique snowflakes when it came to talking "adding value" (but we're not).

My top three favorites phrases:

  1.  “Adding value” as in what do you do that is good or benefits others
  2. “Reaching out” to someone rather than calling, emailing, or otherwise contacting them
  3.  “Push back” meaning to question, challenge, or re-examine a statement or opinion

“Corporate lingo is worse than general slang and even curse words.”

Joking aside, however, the take-away from the article (some more jargon for you) does ring true: we shouldn't use jargon to convey either superiority (or exclusivity) or use imprecise language because we don't having anything important to say. Or worse and more likely, we don't know what we want to say, which is a flaw that often guides our statements or writing.

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