Biz Buzz

The branches of the federal government have, since the end of World War II, abetted and contributed directly to the debasement of standards of conduct — legal, civil, and ethical. The results are evident everywhere, including the “hard-headed” world of business. Here is a brief guide to business-speak; each word or phrase is followed by yesteryear’s fitting word or phrase:

-abled, -challenged…crippled (before handicapped)

analysis…guesswork

associate…employee

business-process or re-engineering consultant…hatchet man

(to) communicate, (to) share…(to) tell

concern (of employee)…gripe

(to) counsel…(to) warn

empowerment…responsibility

(to) give developmental feedback…(to) appraise; as in:

  • walks on water…only Jesus could
  • superior…good
  • excellent…fair
  • good…poor
  • fair…one more chance
  • poor…out the door

expectations…standards

feedback (sometimes “input”)…criticism

holiday party…Christmas party

Human Resources…Personnel

input (alternate meaning)…idea

networking…glad-handing; as in:

  • “Let’s do lunch (not!).”…”(Not) good to meet you.”

management guru…b___ s___ artist

MBWA (management by walking around)…goofing off

mentoring…OJT (on-the-job training)

organizational dynamics…back-biting, back-stabbing

output…work

paradigm…theory

position…job; as in:

  • assistant…clerk (also “gofer” and “flunky”)
  • administrative assistant…senior clerk
  • executive assistant…secretary
  • team leader…supervisor
  • manager…boss
  • executive…manager
  • chief operating officer…general manager
  • chief executive officer…president
  • chairman…Mao

stakeholder…employee or shareholder (but not “customer” or “public-at-large”)

teaming area…conference room, coffee bar, vacant office

teaming, teamwork…cooperation

terminated…fired; as in:

  • de-selected…fired
  • down-sized…fired
  • out-placed…fired
  • laid-off…fired (unless you worked in a union shop)

work space, work station…office, desk, counter