AKF Partners

Abbott, Keeven & Fisher PartnersPartners In Hyper Growth

Corporate Mouth Diarrhea

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone on a rant. Leaving my rants bottled up inside me just means that I’ll take it out on my partners in some fashion (most likely by hiding in their houses and beating them upon entry in the fashion of Cato and the Pink Panther) .   Chief among the things that are ticking me off right now are some ridiculous phrases and approaches to speech that I will term “Corporate Speak”.  This mouth diarrhea is closely related to the “buzzword bingo” games of the mid 2000’s where employees would wait for half retarded executives to flip clichés out at company meetings.   Unlike buzzword bingo, this dribble simply doesn’t seem to have a purpose and we should try to excise it form our speech like the tumor that it is.  Candidly speaking, my partners and I are guilty of some of these ridiculous statements and we are working actively with a speech oncologist to send them into remission.  One warning: if you are speaking about yourself in the third person you may be beyond help.  Third person speech is a clear indication that you should just end your career.

Without further ado, here are the most cancerous phrases:

Phrase Intent of Phrase Real Meaning 

“To your point…” I’d like to give you credit for saying the following… I’m going to say something I want you to agree with and I’m a tool. 

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“Put on your CEO hat for a minute…” (or some other position hat) I would like you to think across all functional and business unit areas rather than just your own. I don’t agree with you – just change your opinion to how I think.  Oh, and I’m a tool too. 

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“From a shareholder’s perspective…” or “Let’s put on our shareholder hat for a minute…” Let’s think about what shareholders care about I don’t agree with you and I’m going to pretend the shareholders don’t either.  The shareholders probably think I’m a tool. 

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“This is best in class…” or “This is world class…” or “This is a best demonstrated practice…” Good job for achieving excellence. What you are doing makes me look good or makes my job easier – congratulations.  By the way, I’m a tool. 

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“Ask yourself what Marty would do”.  Any reference to oneself in the third person Anyone speaking in the third person (referencing him or herself) is making themselves feel important Who knows – this is just a ridiculous practice.  Nothing yells I’m a tool bigger than this one.  You might as well scream it from a clock tower. 

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“Let’s level up” or “Let’s look at this from a 30,000 foot level” We need some overall context to make this meaningful and make appropriate decisions I’m not comfortable with details and don’t want to look like an idiot, or I don’t agree with where this is going – I’m going to change the direction.  Have I told you I’m a tool? 

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“I think you have a valid point, but…” Interesting and valid, but one of many potential explanations or positions. I don’t agree with you so let me tell you how we’re going to do it.  Guess what?  I’m a tool. 

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“I would say…” or “I would tell you that…” I have no idea what the intent of this opening is – this is just a weird, stupid saying. I’m too much of an idiot and a tool to just tell you what I think without a lame qualification 

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