Archive for August, 2004
ManagementSpeak: Lean and Mean. Translation: Famished and Feeble. KJR Club member Janet Jonas wins the prize — a free copy of Leading IT: The Toughest Job in the World, (a lean book, but not, I hope, a mean one) for her translation of this overused and abused management cliche.
Awhile back, I wrote in this space that in most cases, “lean and mean” really means emaciated and unpleasant. Dave Teleki objected: “‘Emaciated’ is just a bit too Latinate and abstract,” he complained good humoredly. “And ‘unpleasant’ is this year’s contender for understatement of the decade.” And so was born the leaner and meaner contest. […]
ManagementSpeak: Our staff are empowered to make critical business decisions on their own. Translation: Our staff are authorized to make decisions as directed by management. KJR Club member Dennis Kolda felt empowered to disambiguate “on their own” for us. I felt empowered to use the cool word “disambiguate.”
I heard, through a back channel, that a Very Important CEO (VICEO) was giving an award to a project manager who had just led a difficult undertaking to success. In a large gathering, the VICEO invited the project manager to the podium. She stepped up in an outfit that revealed her midriff, replete with ornamented […]
ManagementSpeak: We’ll have a frank and open discussion before reaching a mutually agreeable solution. Translation: We’ll do it my way. KJR Club member Ed Glasheen reports, “I was lucky enough to be a bystander in this frank and open exchange, rather than a recipient.”
Picture this. Your telephone rings at 1:55pm. The call is from the person with whom you have a 2:00pm appointment. He has to cancel your meeting. Suddenly, you have an hour free. How should you spend that hour? You could focus on: New ways to improve the application integration process. Figuring out what to do […]
ManagementSpeak: If I bend the rules for you then I’ll have to bend them for everyone. Translation: I only break the rules when and for whom I want to. A rule KJR never bends: Respecting requests for anonymity.
Target Corporation recently renounced casual attire as an acceptable form of dress among its employees. While the policy change received wide attention, the company’s logic for doing so has not (the company did not comment on the subject to the press). Neither has the irony: The only clothing you can buy at Target is casual. […]
ManagementSpeak: We have to face reality. Translation: We have to try a simplistic solution to the mess our simplistic thinking got us into. This week’s anonymous contributor provides a realistic translation.
Crankiness is a sure-fire motivator for writing a punchy, sarcastic column. The downside: It doesn’t always lead to the most tactful recommendations. David Carlson wrote to suggest, gently, that my final recommendation for responding to someone who tells you to face reality wasn’t particularly useful. He’s right, too. While not as sarcastic as “Here on […]