Pulp Diction: Things We Need To Stop Staying So We Can Pivot To A Post-Pandemic New Old NormalJune 6, 2021
The New Insanity
No amount of sanitizer, masks or PPE can keep the buzzwords, jargon and wackadoodle cliches isolated like a cartoon version of Coronavirus.
I’ve noticed some crazy statements that are getting uttered down the virtual hallways of Zoom, Teams and Meet.
“Forgive me for being direct and let me pay you the compliment of being blunt, although being blunt usually hurts everyone’s feelings so I just want to make sure that’s not uncomfortable for you and the team…”
Wait, is it compliment or complement ? An e ? An i ?
Business is difficult. Business is challenging. Business is battle.
Successful business people deal with reality instead of nonsense.
But I digress.
Ah, the times we live in, may they be interesting. May we live in interesting times. For compliance audit purposes, that wasn’t a forward looking statement.
If you tell your management team and workers that you “have an open door policy,” you probably don’t. (Especially now since you are home. That would be creepy, employees just showing up at your house)
If you need to “noodle on it,” you might just need to think about it.
And, you might tell your coworkers, “I’m a people person.” So glad you aren’t an alien or a zombie. (Hint: NEVER use the sentence “I’m a people person” on a job interview.)
Do we really need a doughy middle aged guy with a beard named Bob to list his name as Bob/he/him in the corner of his Zoom frame? As if the DunderMifflin coffee mug with Steve Carell’s photo wasn’t a dead giveaway?News flash, Bob, we figured out you’re a he/him, we’ve known you for 18 years. And, Sally, you probably are a she/her since you have four kids. With Bob. Bob in Accounting. With the Dunder Mifflin mug.
When you were talking about teams, did you mean, actual, like, teams, or Microsoft Teams? I wasn’t suggesting I prefer Teams to Zoom, I mean, it’s whatever the company prefers. Google Meet, well, that’s fine too.
I actually have toured several companies which have “employee suggestion boxes,” usually next to a disconnected pay phone. It might be next to the office of the “Senior Recruiter.” Who actually determines this? Is there some process like stripes in the military, belts in jiu jitsu or rank in Boy Scouts?
Is any title beginning with Senior just a nice token in lieu of salary? (I should know, I’m the “Senior” Managing Partner which really has meant that I do most of the work and find most of the business.)
“Disrupt.” Don’t we really mean change? Business opportunities do come from problems and challenges, but not every sideswipe to a stodgy industry or practice is revolutionary havoc. It’s really just a buzzword.
“XX years of experience.” I might be off on this one, but if you want a recent college graduate with 15–20 years of experience, but want that person to be 25, how does that math work?
“Tiger team.” This is widely used in telecommunications and IT services. This is now widely used in other industries to illustrate tactical experts. Have you ever tried to tame a tiger? I didn’t think so.
“BizDev.” Business Development. BD. I remember when this was called Sales. A Sales Manager is now, in many industries, referred to as a Chief Commercialization Officer. If sales is now business development, why isn’t accounting now called “Numbers Development?”
Is Human Resources therefore People Development? Nope. “Human Capital.” People. This appears to be to “human resources” what “human resources” was to “personnel.”
“Pivot” and “Lean In.” I put these two together because they need to be stopped immediately.
“Pitching. The Pitch. The Pitch Deck.” Nolan Ryan’s elbow is hurting just hearing this.
“The New Normal” is making me insane in a working from home, unprecedented kind of way. Especially the pivoted new normal, which might actually be the old new normal, once the normal has transitioned from pre- or during-pandemic to post pandemic.
I’m starting to feel like my EBITDA got normalized.
Wait, how do we know exactly when we cross the line between the during- and the post- pandemic. Weigh in here, Fauci. Has Fauci become a noun or a verb? An adjective? Is Faucily an adverb? As in, Faucily, Faucily, Faucily, life is but a dream. Perhaps Faucian will be used to describe some set of pandemic related behaviors, kind of like Faustian.
Let’s all admit that “blue sky” is an innocuous, nebulous term. It might also be cirrus and cumulus, possibly nimbus, I haven’t confirmed, nor will I.
Because we can neither confirm, nor deny.
“Business model,” when you really think about it, is an oxymoron. Kind of like jumbo shrimp. Speaking of oxymorons, let’s be honest, NOTHING is “accounting-driven.”
“Off balance sheet.” Really?
“Really?” Admit it, we all overuse it. I just did.
“Face time.” Not sure, but Apple pretty much owns this term now. Earlier in my career it meant being conspicuously present.
“Throwing the baby out with the bath water.” This has probably never actually happened. God, I hope no one has ever done that.
“Waxing Philosophical,” — waxing your car? Carnauba? Uber? What? I suppose it’s better to be waxing than waning.
“Tribal knowledge.” So the company or department is actually a tribe? Hopefully the headhunters don’t actually have spears.
“Touching base.” Like steroids, it’s not just for Major League Baseball anymore.
“Hump Day.” People no longer work just five days a week, so conceivably hump day might slip into either Tuesday or Thursday. Or it could be Sunday. Well, at least we can agree that TGIF.
“Off to the salt mines; back to the salt mines.” Yes, because driving your Tesla back to your climate controlled office after your poke bowl lunch with a bottle of chilled Evian ought to be against some provision of the Geneva Convention.
“Hashtag.” as in, #Enoughalready
“Fail fast” is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, with the exception of some of the political rhetoric in virtually any recent presidential candidates’ exchange of pleasantries.
“LEAN” is a legitimate process, commitment and comprehensive management initiative. It isn’t something you call what you did when you fired three people.
In The Wheelhouse
If someone tells me again that there is something either in or out of “their wheelhouse,” (see pic below to see what an actual “wheelhouse” looks like.) I may need an adult beverage, a beach chair and a mental health day watching the waves crash against the shore. Please, stop with the wheelhouse already.
“Dry powder.” So is the money or capital you’ve committed wet powder, or burned powder?
“Let’s put some meat on the bone.” You spent way too much time in the Brazilian Argentinian Steakhouse.
SPAC. I thought this was originally some version of SPAM, maybe vegan spiced tofu? (Wasn’t SPAM’s competitor at one time called SMEAT?) Nope, this is the idea of raising a fund, funding a shell and buying some stuff hoping it goes up in value. It’s extra comforting to know rappers and athletes that dropped out of high school and flunked algebra are now running finance models.
NFT. Non Fungible Tokens. Your VHS video of your drunk uncle Louie at your niece’s graduation party could be worth millions, not millions of dollars, millions in LouCoin, named after your drunk uncle. There’s fun, there’s your fun uncle (funcle?), there’s fungible. That’s some funky funny money, Funcle Lou.
Stay with me, bro.
“Core competency.” Any competency is core, that’s why it’s a competency. Not to be confused with a statement of capabilities. Whole other thing entirely. I bet you didn’t even see that paradigm shifting right there.
I love KPI’s and I’m a strong advocate and disciple. It’s a big part of what we do. However, I still think of “dashboards” as being in cars. It is a term I use and can tolerate, I like cars and watching the tach and speedometer needles move when the car speeds along.
Speaking of dash instruments, will this activity we’re about to undertake actually “Move the needle?” Save that for tearing out of the parking lot in your Prius, wearing your Crocs and heading to Applebee’s.
Easy, big fella. Slow it down, Bob.
“Due diligence.” Isn’t it just diligence? It’s understood to be due. Nothing could be worse than overdue diligence.
“86 or eighty six.” This saying went out in, oh, ’87 when Bruce Willis had hair and Nick Nolte could drive.
Keepin’ it inside the “Cone of Silence.” You’re not Maxwell Smart. Or Agent 99.
“Circular File.” = Can we all agree that is a trash can. Besides, some of them are rectangular or square. You can get one at Staples or Target. Fill it with undercapitalized negative asset value and no longer-core-competencies.
Abbreviations and acronyms. These are OK but often managers use them and have no idea what they stand for. Some examples:
- PO=Purchase Order, or, well, you know, how you feel when you hear this ridiculous nonsense.
- AP=Accounts Payable
- AR= Accounts Receivable
- DSO=Days Sales Outstanding
- DPO=Days Payable Outstanding
- M&A=Mergers and Acquisitions
- EPL=Employment Practices Liability (your company probably needs this coverage in case a wrongly placed office cliche goes awry.)
- E&O=Errors and Omissions
- D&O=Directors’ and Officers’ (insurance policy your company needs but probably doesn’t have)
- KPI=Key Performance Indicators
Here’s one they usually know:
- WFH= Working From Home. Usually preceded with or followed by, WTF. (hint, doesn’t mean Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Some Grammar Pet Peeves
“Irregardless” is not a word. (unless you look in Merriam-Webster. They like to encourage slackage. Slackage isn’t a word, but it should be.) Irrespective, yes. Regardless, yes.
“Supposably” is not a word. (Supposedly, I suppose).
Please stop saying “for all intensive purposes.” It’s “For all intents and purposes.” You are not a lawyer. Or an English major.
We ensure results. We insure our company fleet. What a difference an e makes.
As in, Compliment vs. complement.
Principle vs. principal.
Elicit, don’t illicit a response. Accept, except. Access, excess.
Accel isn’t Excel. Word. (as in, Word, to your mother. -Vanilla Ice, as in, Ice, Ice, Baby)
Please, we beg of you, stop posting photos of your private plane on social media and telling us about your “leg (flight).” We all know you rent the $50 million Gulfstream, because you think your time is valuable, and it may be, but the few people who do own these jets don’t spend time sending other people photos of them. Many of the people who can afford to spend $8000 to fly from Boston to Pittsburgh leave $7700 in their company checking account and book a $300 coach flight.
And, don’t even get me started with the advisors that feel compelled to post foursome photos in their lavender pants, white shoes and lime green polo shirts with the ‘80’s tilt up on the collar. (Here’s a wakeup call, Alex P. Keaton, when your client gets the bill for your steak dinner and golf outing… that’s when they usually become our client.)
“At the end of the day…” you should “pat yourself on the back,” and “give yourself some kudos” get your stuff and go home. If you’re going to “blow sunshine” anywhere, do it on vacation. Hey, bro, “Manana.” = Tomorrow’s another day. Just don’t try to “fake it until you make it.”
Gotta go, I need to circle back to my team, so we can put our heads together, get in sync on a fresh approach to a revised proposal, as you can imagine we definitely have a bandwidth problem addressing our low hanging fruit, which might be outside the box.
That could delay recurring revenue.
At least we’re ready to launch and be agile and going full open kimono. That kind of unprecedented new normal zooming could cause supply chain interruptions with any deep dives which could uncover some goodwill impairment.
Before we decide to run it up the flagpole, we’re going to see if there’s any hair on the deal, so that way we won’t send it viral until we know it’s no longer the elephant in the room.
The last thing I want to do is put lipstick on a pig and have it be a dog that won’t hunt.
I’m working remote until I go hybrid. “Please don’t hesitate to contact me.” Trust me, if I need to contact you, I won’t hesitate.
Meanwhile, when you’re ready to reconnect in a few weeks, give me a jingle, we can get something on the calendar.
Direct clarity can help cut the Covid fog.