Buzzword Glossary

Corporate Buzzwords from A to Z

Accelerate

Accelerate - used to delineate an area of the business plan that isn't driving profits as fast or as good as expected by the bosses, or worse, Wall Street. “We have to ACCELERATE the time-to-market for our BI initiatives.” Contributed by Jim – you’re the man!
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Account

Account – an internal word for customers/clients. This term has various meanings in the business world but it is primarily used in the sales divisions of an organization. “How many ACCOUNTS do you manage this year?”
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Actionable

Actionable – anything that can be acted upon. Bosses love to ask us to make actionable goals..gimme a break. “Team we need to make sure all of our goals are ACTIONABLE, I want you all to be successful.”
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All Hands on Deck

All Hands on Deck – to get everyone’s involvement. "We need ALL HANDS ON DECK for this one, the CEO is paying close attention to this!”
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All-in Effort

All-in Effort – when the boss wants all of us to work together to accomplish something he or she wants done. Yay, teamwork! “Team, this will require a ALL-IN EFFORT from everyone on this conference call.”
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Alley-Oop

Alley-Oop – as in basketball terminology it means when someone transitions something to someone else when it is almost a success or when it can easily be brought to a successful close. “Yep, Jennifer pretty much threw me an ALLEY-OOP on that Bridgewater deal, I just showed up and signed the papers.”
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Anecdotal

Evidence based on stories or experience rather than by scientific experiment. “If we are going to present this to the CEO, we will need more than ANECDOTAL evidence.”
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Apples-to-apples

Apples-to-apples - Because it's more fun to use delicious fruit to compare similar items... Seriously people, GROW-UP! "I would compare pilot A to pilot C because it seems more like an APPLES TO APPLES comparison."
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Architect

Architect – (verb) to design or lead something. “Bob has ARCHITECTED this operational model to assist with the project scoping.” Contributed by Colin – thanks bud!
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Ask (the Ask)

Ask (the Ask) – a term used to refer to the details of a request.

“I know we’ve begun to execute against the project goals but we need to keep THE ASK in mind to ensure we are addressing for that.”
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Bad Guy

Bad Guy (noun) - Any metric, figure or number that is considered to have negative implications. "We have a few BAD GUYS on the report this month that we'll need to address when we do our monthly business review with Carol." ANTONYM: Good Guy  
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Baked-in (Baked-Into)

Baked-in (Baked-Into)– when something is already accounted for.

“Sure I get it, Dan said he found a way for us to save 13% year-over-year in the call center, but that figure was already BAKED-INTO next year’s roadmap.”


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Bandwidth

Bandwidth - the amount of work ability that you have in a set timeframe “Steele, I would love to be able to take on a new project for you right now, but I don't really have the BANDWIDTH.” Contributed by Joe Treadaway – way to go Joe!
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Beat the Street

Beat the Street - 1. Usually referring to a sales team, it means to aggressively sell to more prospects via customer visits and cold calling. “Our numbers are low so far so we’ll need to BEAT THE STREETS” to get some more business.” 2. To obtain financial figures (usually quarterly) that surpasses Wall Street’s expectations. “We BEAT THE STREET this quarter so it looks like we’ll get our bonuses after all. Time for me to upgrade my yacht shopping.”
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Bench (the bench)

Bench (The Bench)– the status of business consultants that are not currently working on a project. Usually used in the consultancy industry. “Yeah, after this project I think I’ll be on the BENCH for awhile because my manager told me that is not much going on at this time in my area of expertise.”
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Benchmark

Benchmark - a standard point of reference that is used to measure other things by. A goal that is widely accepted. “We need to BENCHMARK all of our findings so that everyone can follow along in the future.”
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Best of Breed

Best of Breed – the leader in a class, industry, sector, group, etc. [Obviously one of the bosses is a dog show enthusiast] . “We are the BEST OF BREED in the retailing sector.”
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BI - Business Intelligence

BI - Business Intelligence - the process of gathering, sorting and reporting on business related data that enables the company to make sound business decisions based on empirical data. “Check with our BI team as they might be able to assist us with gathering historical data.”
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BIP - Business Improvement Process

BIP - short for Business Improvement Process. "The BIP for dealing with the off-short team should have been executed according to the specifications outlined in the email."
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Bips (Bip)

Bips – short for basis points

 “We’re up 150 BIPS in the month of October, let’s see if we can carry this momentum into the end of the year.”


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Boil it Down

Boil it Down - To make something simple or to summarize something complex. “When you BOIL IT DOWN, the VPs are only concerned about the cost of this project.”

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Breakthrough Performance

Breakthrough performance – a silly term that bosses use to state that something or someone’s performance has exceeded expectations.

 “Now that we have a bigger marketing budget, we expect BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE in all of the marketing groups next year.”


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Breakthrough Performance Leadership (BPL)

Breakthrough Performance Leadership (BPL) – Another flavor of the day when it comes to a management philosophy or practice. We have no idea what this means but heck, it sure sounds important…
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Bring to the Table

Bring to the Table - something brought or included to a meeting, team, initiative, etc. Usually refers to an actual thing, idea or skill one posseses. “Don will BRING a different perspective TO THE TABLE at tomorrow’s kick-off meeting for sure.”
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Bubble up

Bubble up - to move information or ideas up the chain of command for review, discussion, or approval “I'm not sure how that idea will be consumed, perhaps you should BUBBLE it UP to Tom and get his input?” [Contributed by Joe Treadaway]  – way to go Joe!  
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Bull by the Horns

Bull by the Horns (Grab the) - To take the initiative to do something. “[Expletive] Thomas! GRAB THE BULL BY THE HORNS and call Marty to figure out what went wrong.”
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Bulletize

Bulletize - likely a combination of the words "bullet" and "summarize"-- bulletize means to take a large body of text and convert it into a series of bullets (usually two or three) that summarizes the main point(s) of the passage. "John, I read over your idea and I think it's great but I recommend you BULLETIZE it so that the client can clearly see the two to three main points you want to convey." History of Bulletize: Like most buzzwords, bulletize likely got created by some lazy, pea-brained boss that, in haste, could not process enough brain-power to express that he wants a passage of text to be placed in a summarized format using bullets. Nope, had to create this stupid buzzword in the process.
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Button-up

Button-up - to enhance or fix something for its final (presentable) state.

“Ramirez, you did a good job on the slide deck, just BUTTON-UP those few changes and we’ll be set for tomorrow’s presentation.”


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Capabilities

Capabilities – the things that the company does - these can be products or services that the company sells in exchange for compensation “We have to insure our CAPABILITIES are recognized in the marketplace.” Contributed by Jim – you rock!
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Car Park

Car Park - a place where ideas can be placed until a time when they are more relevant or can be explored more “That's a really good point Bob -- let's put it in the CAR PARK so we can revert to it when we have more time.” [Contributed by Dominic – thanks bud!]
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Care For

Care for – to address or accomplish a predefined initiative or objective.

 “Have we CARED FOR Doug’s updated project requirements or is that still outstanding?”


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Cascade

Cascade - to spread information downward. In other words you have to be a boss in order to cascade something (think waterfall). “Please bear with us as we CASCADE this information to our respective teams.”
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Circle Around

Circle around – to follow-up with someone. “I’m going to CIRCLE-AROUND and connect with Jenny on that webinar she recently presented.”
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Color

Detail or specific information or data. “Chris, if you could add some COLOR to the discussion that took place, I would appreciate that.”
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Comfort Level

Comfort Level (or Level of Comfort) - A person’s degree of confidence in a particular matter. “We need to make sure they have the right COMFORT LEVEL about the work that’s been done since we last met.”
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Connectivity

Connectivity - the state of being connected. “The CONNECTIVITY of the players in this project is important.”
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Consolidate

Consolidate - Mostly refers to two things—getting rid of people or getting rid of things (or both) "If we don't increase our revenue by at least 12% next year, we will have to CONSOLIDATE our call center."
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Cost Out

Cost out – the act of removing or reducing costs ($) from a process or department within an organization.

 “The consulting firm uncovered up to $54MM in COST OUT opportunities within our organization.”


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Cross that Bridge

Cross that Bridge - to take-care of something or deal with something at a later time. “I know we’ll have to deal with mean old Jean at some point in the process but we’ll CROSS THAT BRIDGE later.”
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Cross-pollinate

Cross-pollinate - the sharing of information which benefits everyone. Only cornballs say this word...seriously are we honey bees now? “Let’s get our groups together so that we can CROSS-POLLINATE amongst each other.”
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Cross-sector

Cross-sector – things that involve more than one executive's responsibility, so that both can take credit and neither have to take blame - usually involves having multiple managers with conflicting agendas. “Our new CROSS-SECTOR approach will allow for better client engagement.” Contributed by Jim – This is hilarious Jim!
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CSF’s - Critical Success Factors

“What are the customer’s CSF’s? If we know what they are, we will be more effective in selling.”
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CTQ’s - Critical To Quality

“We really need to make sure we address all the CTQ’s so we don’t have flaws in the design.”
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Cube

Cube - Short for a cubicle work space. "I got my CUBE all decked out with two monitors, a privacy door and a lava lamp! It's big pimping baby."
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Customer facing

Customer facing – a position that interacts directly with the customer. Usually referring to an outside sales role where customer visits are a necessity. “I am hoping to get this promotion because it is more CUSTOMER FACING than my current.”
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Customer Focused Growth (CFG)

Customer Focused Growth (CFG) – yet another ambiguous phrase that some boss created and now we have to not only understand it but also recite their silly CFG plans. Seriously, is there any other kind of growth we should be striving for in the 21st century? Any company that has a growth plan that is not focused on their customer won’t be a company too long. “Yes, I am asking all of you to have a great understanding of this CFG Plan that I carefully and thoughtfully created…you can thank me later.”
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Customer-centric

Customer-centric – to consider the customer before considering the company. Here’s another term that bosses love to use over and over again to describe anything that they deem good regardless if it involves an actual customer or not. “We haven’t been making our quarterly numbers so I am asking everyone to be more CUSTOMER-CENTRIC in the way you go about your daily activities.”
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CYA (Cover Your A$$)

CYA - short for "Cover Your A$$," which means to take the necessary steps to ensure that when/if something goes wrong, and people begin to look for those at fault, you have reduced or eliminated your risk being blamed for it "I hate sending lengthy emails to my coworkers that sit right next to me but I need to keep a paper trail for CYA purposes...you know, just in case the crap hits the fan."
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Deep Dive

Deep dive – to embark upon a thorough investigation. A deep dive usually entails the careful examination of a large amount of data.

 “Our chargeback numbers in merchandise disputes are through the roof, we need to do a DEEP DIVE into the top 15 to 20 cases to see if there’s a trend.”


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Delineate

Delineate - to accurate describe something in detail. “I understand your concerns with my rejection of your time-off request but we’ve DELINEATED the company’s vacation policy in your employee handbook which you obviously failed to review.”

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Deviate

Deviate - to change from the established plan. “We cannot afford to DEVIATE from this project plan now that we only have two weeks left to delivery.”
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Direct report

Direct report - the people we boss around. “Now that I’ve received this promotion, I have 12 Direct Reports.”
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Disconnect

A buzzword referenced when there is not a mutual understanding among at least two parties.

“They sent over the wrong files again…I believe there is a DISCONNECT in our communication of the project requirements.”


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Distill

Distill - to simplify or break something down to smaller parts. “I DISTILLED this spreadsheet so that bosses could easily review it.”
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Diversity

Diversity (Diverse) -code word for minorities and women. “We strive to keep an active and healthy DIVERSITY support group system for our many DIVERSE employees within the company.”
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Double-down

Double-down – to do something again but with more intensity or effort. “Let’s DOUBLE-DOWN our marketing tactics around the holiday season.”
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Downsize

Downsize – a euphemism for layoff or firing an employee(s) (Other terms - layoffs, terminations, right-sizing, trimming the fat, personnel action, resource allocation, HR action, etc) “Some employees may be DOWNSIZED during this restructuring.” Contributed by Jim – Big Thanks!
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Drill Down

Drill down – to expand or explore the subcategory (or subcategories) of a category.

“If we DRILLDOWN in SalesForce to see the sales figures within the southern region, we’ll see that it is only four to five districts that are causing the entire region to miss their goal for the month.”


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Drive (Driver)

Drive (Driver) – to lead or serve as the leader of an initiative or project. “We need Jesse to DRIVE this exercise by staying on top of the business owners and ensuring that they are executing against the recommendations.”

 

 


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Ebb and Flows

Ebb and Flows - the changing nature of something. Usually referring to a project, process, culture, industry or system. “You will eventually understand the EBB and FLOWS of our workplace.”
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EBIT - Earnings Before Interest and Tax

EBIT - Earnings Before Interest and Tax - A measurement of a company’s profitability. An important term bosses love to use and are frequently judged by. It will serve you well to understand its meaning as it relates the company/industry you work in. It is a popular measurement (of many) in which a company’s financial performance is judged. “That account is at a negative EBIT so we can stand to lose them.”
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Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch – a short explanation of something. (usually 10-15 seconds which is about all of the time you have to hold a conversation in an elevator with someone). When I hear bosses say this, it makes me think of throwing them out of an open elevator…how’s that for an Elevator PITCH. “What’s your ELEVATOR PITCH for our value-prop?”
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Emerging Growth Areas

Emerging Growth Areas – 1. A term used to refer to things occurring in the industry where a competitor(s) has an advantage. 2. A term used to refer to an area where a company wants to get a competitive edge on competitors “We need to concentrate our investment in EMERGING GROWTH AREAS now that the economy is improving.” Contributed by Jim – Big Thanks Jim!
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Engagement

Engagement – buzz word alert!!! This word should be outlawed for the next ten years. The definition has taken on so many things since it’s been used to describe anything that should be right with business. Throw words like customer, employee, team and whatever else you want and it would likely be received with open arms from the bosses. “Team we need to increase our ENGAGEMENT scores overall in order to be successful for the next quarter.”
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Escalate

Escalate - 1. To snitch or tattle-tale to a person who has a higher ranking than yourself and/or the person you’re dealing with. “I am going to ESCALATE this to Tim if he fails to respond by noon today.” 2. To include or refer something to someone with a higher ranking than yourself. “We need to ESCALATE all issues that pertain to the CFG plan to John.”
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ETA - Expected Time of Arrival

ETA - short for Expected Time of Arrival. This term is used to find out when someone or something will be delivered to a recipient. "I get it but do we have an ETA on when they'll be finish with development because I have the advertising agency on my behind?"
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Evergreen

Evergreen – to create a process where something is regularly updated. Think of an evergreen tree where the leaves stay green year-round.

 “Our three year plan is EVERGREEN, in that in every passing year we will plan for the next three years to ensure that three years are always represented within the plan.”


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Exponential Growth (or Breakthrough Growth)

Exponential Growth (or Breakthrough Growth)- something that is increasing at a rapid rate. Another popular term that bosses use usually at the beginning or end of a fiscal year where they often ask their workers to strive or expect exponential growth. “We want to ramp-up for EXPONENTIAL GROWTH in the 2012 year. I’ll let you know how we plan to do that in February of the new year.”
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Extrapolate

Extrapolate - to make a conclusion based on prior knowledge. “We need to extrapolate the customer’s sales numbers to fit our right-sizing model.”

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Eye-to-eye

Eye-to-eye – an in-person meeting with someone. This buzzword sounds like an old western shoot-out situation…these bosses never cease to amaze me with their ridiculous buzzwords “I have my weekly EYE-TO-EYE with my direct reports on Mondays.”
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Face Time

Face Time – not to be mistaken for Apple’s video chat feature. Nope, bosses have been using this word before there was such a thing as video chat. This term means to have scheduled in-person interaction with a boss. It doesn’t have to be a formal meeting with just you and the boss, it can mean that you were assigned to sit at the same table the boss is seated for your company's award banquet. “I have the same flight as Daniel so I’ll have some FACE TIME with him and maybe get a chance to talk to him about a few projects I’ve been working on.”
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Farmer

Farmer – a sales representative whose primary task is to manage current customers/accounts. They are not involved too much in making sales pitches. “Our HUNTERS are the best at customer service…they have a knack for customer-centricity.”
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Feedback

Feedback - the practice of someone providing their opinion to another person, based on performance. "Did you get any negative feedback from the store associates on whether it was a good idea to increase their pay and shorten their hours?"
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Figure Head

Figure Head – someone who serves as the leader from the outsider’s perspective but is not the real leader internally. “I think John is just serving as the FIGURE HEAD for them because he cannot answer any of our questions.”
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Findings

Findings - a silly term used to reference the information learned usually after a study, survey or meeting.

“I’ll send you the FINDINGS from our focus group tomorrow morning 0 I think you’ll be surprised to find out what was revealed.”
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Flavor

Flavor - an idea or style. “We’ll get a FLAVOR of this roll-out once it begins in a few days.”
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Flip Of The Switch

Making a hard conversion.  “It’s not just as simple as a FLIPPING OF THE SWITCH, and all of sudden, you’re fully integrated. That doesn’t happen.”
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Forest for the trees (cannot see)

Forest for the trees (cannot see) - to sweat the small stuff. Usually someone says a particular person cannot see the forest for the trees. “Jim CAN’T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES as he keeps scrutinizing every line of the invoice. He needs to let the bill representatives do their job and concern himself with something more productive.”
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Foul Tip

Foul Tip – when the outcome of something is unsuccessful but not considered a complete failure. Usually another attempt can be made after the “foul tip” similar to the game of baseball. “We did the FOUL TIP on the first try but I think it will work on the next try.”
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Four-blocker

Four-blocker - a one-page document that is broken up in four quadrants with each quadrant representing a different section. This document is used to communicate a high-level summary of a initiative or project.

“We created a FOUR-BLOCKER that outlines all of the work we’ve done to date. The customers’ responses are in the upper-left portion of the document.”

 
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Game-changer

Game-changer - a person or thing that is considered to be significantly different or superior. 1. "The CFPB is going to start cracking down on these credit promotions so that will be a GAME-CHANGER by 2015. 2. "Jill is the reason why we've accomplished this huge feat, she's a GAME-CHANGER for sure."
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Get Out in Front

Get Out in Front - to be proactive. “We want to GET OUT IN FRONT of this bidding process by meeting with the customer next week.”
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Good Guy

Good Guy (noun) - Any metric, figure or number that is considered to have positive implications. "So this number on the sales comp chart is a GOOD GUY since it means we are starting to see upward momentum as of Q4." ANTONYM: Bad Guy
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Governance

Governance - to govern or control. “We need a strong leader who has a strong handle on the GOVERNANCE of this large organization.”
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Granular

To break things down to its most basic component.  “We need to strip our processes down to a very GRANULAR level to make sure we haven’t missed anything.”
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Green

Green - anything dealing with being socially responsible or environmentally conscious. “We are striving to be more GREEN thus we have switched your bathrooms’ toilet paper to a brand that uses more recycled material in their product. Although you may find that this new product might be a little more abrasive than what you’re used to we’ll save 16% on our office cost annually. So think GREEN!”

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Growth Initiatives

Growth Initiatives – a task or area that the leadership believes that there is room to make more profit “We have to focus on our GROWTH INITIATIVES for services in Q3.” Contributed by Jim – you rock!  
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Headcount

Headcount (or “heads”) : amongst themselves bosses never use the terms team members, workers, employees and other more familiar terms to describe employees. Instead the term “headcount” is used.  “If we do not make our quarterly number, I’m afraid we’ll have to reduce HEADCOUNT (or simply referred to as “heads.”) to compensate for the lack of revenue.” I guess it sounds better than saying, “we’ll have to layoff a bunch of workers.”

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Heavy Lifting

The hard work that has to occur. “There will be plenty of HEAVY LIFTING that must be done by our frontline employees before we are ready to make this conversion.”
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High-level Summary

High-level summary - a summary of something that is more complex and detailed oriented. Usually a summary expressed in a way that would be suitable for bosses (ya know, because they don’t have time to hear all of the details or low-level stuff... that’s your job). “Hey you, give me a quick HIGH-LEVEL SUMMARY of what was discussed during the sustainability conference call.”
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Home Run

Home Run – Yet another sports analogy that means something that was successful. “That presentation was a HOME RUN, good job Derrick!”
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Hunter

Hunter – a sales representative whose primary task is to find/generate new business via selling. The opposite of a FARMER. “Our HUNTERS are too busy doing administrative tasks, we need to provide them more support so they can focus on signing new accounts.”
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Implication

Implication(s) - the conclusion that can be taken from something. This word just sounds so darn good so the bosses jump on every opportunity to use this word. “The IMPLICATIONS of their involvement in this bid process could be taken as a sign of their desperation.”
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Incentivize

Incentivize – to create an award or incentive for something. “We need to INCENTIVIZE our employees to do more recycling in the office.”
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Industry-Leading

Industry-Leading - Best in a particular industry. Bosses love to use this term when talking about their employer. “We have the INDUSTRY-LEADING platform that assures our partners that they are in good hands.”
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Influencer

Influencer – someone (usually a boss but not necessarily one) who is can influence a decision. Influencers can change depending on the outcome one is trying to achieve. This term is usually used in the sales organization. “Who’s the INFLUENCER for this project because we need to focus our efforts there and avoid working with Jenny exclusively.”
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Inner-city

Inner-city (areas and individuals) - a code word for low-income areas and/or culturally diverse individuals. Bosses that work at large corporations want to ensure that they are politically correct at all times…you know to avoid lawsuits and bad press. Thus they create or morph the meaning of words like INNER-CITY to fit comfortably into their politically correct world. So instead of INNER-CITY referring to an area within or near a city-center, it now means low-income areas and the individuals that live in them. [The sentence below is an actual sentence I heard being said in an office I once worked in] “John, I know you're new to our mentoring program so please be careful not to say anything that could be offensive because most of the students in the program are INNER-CITY.” (Translation: "John, don't say anything that will get us sued because most of the kids in our mentoring program are Black and Hispanic.")    
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Innovation

Innovation - a term used to define something the company does that the bosses hope the competition does not or cannot do yet “We have to promote the INNOVATION inherent in our product line.” Contributed by Jim – you’re the man!
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Integrate/Integration

Integrate/Integration - To combine or the act of combining something. Bosses try to use this buzz word whenever they can so you’ll hear them use this term instead of more simple terms such as combine, bring together, join and so on. “We need to use our INTEGRATE our collective know-how to better serve our customers.”

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Key Drivers

Key Drivers (or Drivers) - the most critical component of a project or initiative. “John, we need to know the KEY DRIVERS for this customer’s initiative.”
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Kick the Tires

To experiment in order to see if something will work.  “We don’t really know what the conversion will look like but we’ll definitely KICK THE TIRES to see what works best.”
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Kick-off

Kick-off – to start something. “Okay gang, we’ve waiting about five minutes to see if anyone else would join our call so I’m going to go ahead and KICK-OFF this conference call.
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Know-how

Know-how - practical knowledge usually learned by doing something over an extended period of time. “Our technical KNOW-HOW is the best in the industry.”

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KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

KPI (Key Performance Indicator) – a metric that must be measured in order to determine if something is performing well or not. Organizations within in the same industry use an agreed upon set of important metrics (or KPIs) to measure performance and compare and contrast amongst each other. “Sure, I understand the industry’s KPIs for email marketing but I’m telling you, it is no longer about the number of emails opened.”
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Laser-like Focus

Laser-like Focus - to consolidate all resources, time and effort to accomplish a particular task or goal.

“We need to have a LASER-LIKE FOCUS when it comes to asking every customer if they would like to open a credit account.”

[Contributed by Chris Schulz]


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Launch

Launch – a fancy way referring to the official start of something. “We’re going to LAUNCH our new set of products in Q2, so let’s get excited.”
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Lead-time

Lead-time – the time it takes to complete a project or a task. “How much LEAD-TIME do we have on this project because we have a few holidays coming up that might interfere with our on-time delivery?”
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Leadership Transition

Leadership Transition – someone in a leadership role has a new job – generally this implies an executive has been hired, fired or moved which may result in new policies and procedures being imposed (shoved down) from above. “Please be patient while we re-align our business initiatives during this period of LEADERSHIP TRANSITION.” Contributed by Jim – you rock!
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Lean

This has multiple meanings in the corporate world but the primary use of the word means to reduce the number of workers through layoffs--often referred to as "cutting off the fat." The less common uses reference Lean Six Sigma--the process improvement methodology and Lean Startup—a mythology of creating a new company quickly "As you all know, we have experienced three consecutive quarters of negative growth and missing our Wall Street targets. Therefore, the Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors have made the decision to make our organization more LEAN in order to reflect the reality of our current position in the market." Note from Steele: "to put it plainly, a lot of folks are about to get canned."
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Learnings

Learnings – anything learned. “Finding out about their go-to-market strategy was one of the biggest LEARNINGS from this meeting.”
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Level of Effort (LOE)

Level of Effort (LOE) - the amount of required work and/or complexity associated with a task or initiative. Usually expressed in low, medium and high degrees. "The LOE for the Digital Adoption project is pretty high considering that it would require us to assign an entire team of programmers."
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Level Set

To make sure everyone is on the same page. “Josh, we wanted to have this conference call with you just to make sure we LEVEL SET in preparation for this RFP.”
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Lock Step

To do something in unison or together. “Alright team, lets make sure everyone is in LOCK STEP about how we plan to engage our customers..”
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Loop-in

Loop-in – to include. “I asked Teresa to LOOP ME IN on her discussions with the client.”
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Low-hanging Fruit

Low-hanging fruit – Buzz-word alert! It means the easiest opportunity for success. “What’s the LOW-HANGING FRUIT for this project?”
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Massage

Massage – to alter the data in a spreadsheet to make it read better. “Please MASSAGE this spreadsheet before sending to the bosses.”
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MBR - Monthly Business Review

MBR - short for Monthly Business Review. "Hey Susan, what day next month does the August MBR fall on?"
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Metrics

Metrics - A set of values derived from measurements. “Let's get some METRICS from our customer satisfaction surveys and see how we're positioned in the market.” Contributed by Colin – thanks bud!
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Mind Share

Mind Share (or Mind Space) - To refer to something that is occupying someone's thoughts "So Joshua, I want to help your IT department but first I need to know what's occupying your MINDSHARE so that I can better address your needs."
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Mission Critical Project

Mission Critical Project – an project that is extremely important. “We need all hands on deck to complete this MISSION CRITICAL PROJECT before the month ends.”
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Mitigate

Mitigate - to make something less severe. “Find a way to MITIGATE the problem before it gets out of control and the customer starts shopping around.”

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Monday Morning Quarterback

Monday morning quarterback - to harshly analyze something after it has taken placed. Inspired by the meeting the coach has with an NFL quarterback after the game the day before where they closely analyze video footage and critique the quarterback’s every move. “Our boss scheduled a quick 10-minute follow-up meeting  which I’m sure he’ll MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK us to death.”
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Monetize

Monetize - (1) to make something financially profitable that currently is not. "The overall business is struggling this year so we need to MONETIZE our legal department by aggressively looking for more lawsuit opportunities." (2) To determine the financial implications of an initiative or idea. "I think we need to MONETIZE all of these proposed actions so that it will make our proposal to the operations division more compelling."  
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Moving forward (Going forward)

Moving forward (or “Going forward”) – In the future, this is what we should do “MOVING FORWARD, I think we should look at doubling our output and halving our staff.” Contributed by Peter – thank sir, we really appreciate your input
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National Account

National Account - Basically a really big a** customer from a total revenue standpoint
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Next Steps

Next Steps – Usually said after a meeting, this is the next set of tasks to complete.  This is a “flavor of the day” buzzword that has really caught on in the business world. “I will cascade out the NEXT STEPS for everyone on the email chain so stay tuned.”
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Nimble

Nimble - Yet another code word that used when a corporation has plans to shrink their workforce and/or their footprint "This year we will strive to become NIMBLE so that we can appropriately respond to this emerging dynamic marketplace that describes the past two years." Steele Says: “Translation--be on the lookout for layoffs…”
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Ninja

Ninja – anyone considered to be an expert or skillful in a particular subject or area of interest. “Jonathan is our resident Microsoft Access NINJA – he handles all things Access related.”
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Opportunity

Opportunity - usually code for weakness or something that needs to be improved. “You know Josh, I think we have an OPPORTUNITY to enhance your presentation skills.”  
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Optics

Optics – how something looks. “If we come to the convention with just a standard booth, the OPTICS of that will not look good since our competitors are sure to have a large, fancy setup.”
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Outside the Box

Outside the box – Buzzword alert! It means to think different. This phrase should be dead by now but it’s still floating around out there. “Come on guys…we need to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX when approaching this prospect.”
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Overarching Theme

Overarching Theme/Strategy - The main theme or strategic plan. Bosses love to use the term “overarching” wherever possible. “Jerome is going to discuss the OVERARCHING THEME for our new Breakthrough Performance meeting.”
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Paper-pusher

Paper-pusher - Often used in a derogatory fashion, this buzzword describes workers that are lower in ranking or perform more simple tasks "I've had it with the accounting team--their entire floor has nothing but a bunch of overpaid PAPER-PUSHERS."
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Par for the Course

Par for the Course (or Par) – as in golf terminology it means something that is expected. “Getting resistance from that company is PAR FOR THE COURSE, they’ve always been very aggressive in their price dealings.”
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Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift – (Hot Buzzword Alert!) One of those buzzwords people say but do not have any idea of its meaning. However, we believe it means a significant change in thought and/or a method of doing something “This new business model represents a PARADIGM SHIFT from the old ways of doing things.” Contributed by Colin – thanks bud!
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Parcel out

Parcel out - to delegate. “I will PARCEL OUT to a sales rep to follow up.”
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Partner

Partner - A term bosses use to make customers feel good. It is used in place of the terms client, account, customer, vendor, etc. “We value your business and that’s why we consider you a valuable PARTNER to our organization.”
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Ping

Ping - to contact someone via what seems like any form of communication these days “I need to PING Susie about our project before the conference call.”  Contributed by Joe Treadaway – way to go Joe!
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Pivot

Pivot – to change from the original direction or idea.

 “OK, it’s time to PIVOT now that we’ve explored all of the possibilities around the direct mail marketing campaign.”


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Pluck

Pluck  - to remove. “Let’s PLUCK Johnny from this project and move him here since he’s a SME.”
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Plug in Ear

Plug in Ear - To introduce or remind something to someone with the expectation that they will remember what you told them in the future. Usually this is done to let someone know that you are interested in something that they will be making a decision on at a future date. “I put a PLUG IN HIS EAR yesterday so that he’ll ask me more about our services when he drafts his RFP later this month.”
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Post Integration Activities

What’s done after a process is changed. “After evaluating the implementation, we will determine what POST INTEGRATION ACTIVITIES will be necessary.
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Pressure

Pressure - A code word used to convey that the organization has had challenges in a certain area or function CEO: "All, we had a great year as always—give yourselves a round of applause. However, as you may know we have experienced some significant PRESSURE in our Comp Sales which caused us to shut down 12,000 stores in the US and possibly another 5,000 in our international locations. But I urge everyone not to panic because through it all we managed to create shareholder value." Steele Says: “Yeah right…and behind closed doors, you and your cronies are planning your exit strategy—like rats on a sinking ship.”
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Proactive

Proactive - What bosses ask you to become versus being reactive. I don’t think they even know what this term means but it just sounds so good. Obviously they’ve read one too many self-help books. “Tim, I am asking that you be more PROACTIVE when engaging your high-level contacts. We are trying to get away from being reactive.”
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Project

Project - the thing that the bosses want you to complete/manage for them. “Uh, John…yes I think I have a project that I need to you to work on for me.”
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Proliferate

To make more numerous.  “There will be rumors PROLIFERATING around the company now, but we need to stay away from that as much as possible.”
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Propagate

Propagate - to spread. “We need to PROPAGATE our value-prop to everyone at this conference or else we’ve failed.”
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Push-back

Push-back - resistance. “Did you get any PUSH-BACK from the customer when you asked for an extension?”
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QBR - Quarterly Business Review

QBR - short for Quarterly Business Review. "I'm sorry I missed the invite for the QBR with RedSky, do I need to prepare a report for this?"
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Quantify

Quantify – to express something in numbers. “We need to QUANTIFY our findings if we plan on presenting this to the bosses because they love numbers.”
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Ramification

Ramification(s) - consequence of an action or event. This word just sounds so darn good so the bosses jump on every opportunity to use this word. “Jeff, what are the RAMIFICATIONS of your proposed solution?”
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Ramp-up

Ramp-up - to prepare for something. “We are going to move our CFG planning up a few weeks in order to RAMP-UP for exponential growth in the new year.”
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Rank-and-file

Rank-and-file – In reference to workers that are not in a leadership position "If Jeremy takes one more vacation this year, I swear I'm going to turn his office into a meeting room and sit him out there with the RANK-AND-FILE."
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Re-double

Re-double – to do something again but with more intensity or effort. “We’re going to RE-DOUBLE our efforts in the west because there’s a lot of upside growth potential in that region.”
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Reach Out

Reach Out - to make contact with. "Ron, please REACH OUT to Seth for his feedback on our SPP document."   This is definitely one of the most overused buzzwords floating around offices throughout. As our buddy Ron puts it, "there's so much reaching out these days, everyone is a modern day Stretch Armstrong." Well he's right...sometimes I feel like reaching out to smack all of the smoke out of some of these buzzword spewing cogs.   Contributed by our friend: Ron B.
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RFP - Request for Proposal

RFP - Request for Proposal - a formal solicitation in which a company asks other organizations to bid on providing their services/products for a particular project or program. “Are we going to respond to their RFP which they are set to stop receiving bids a week from now?”
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RIF (Reduction in Force)

RIF (Reduction in Force) - Short for Reduction in Force. Essentially a HR code word for the laying off of multiple workers. "Yeah, we used to have a lot of perks like free lunch Fridays before the big RIF hit us a couple of years ago."
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Right-size

Right-size - to correct something usually based on a previously established benchmark or model. “We have an opportunity to RIGHT-SIZE their number of deliveries to account for the lack of business this time of year.”
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Roll-in

Roll-in - to include or combine. We need to ROLL-IN our fuel surcharge so it is not obvious to the customer.
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Roll-out

Roll-out - to begin something, usually a project or initiative. “I think we can ROLL OUT the project at the beginning of the year.”
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Roll-up

Roll-up (or report-up) - the people who boss you. “Yes, I ROLL-UP to the VP of BS (BS means Business Solutions of course ;)
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Rounding Third

Rounding Third – to be very close to being successful or having success in something. “I believe we’re ROUNDING THIRD on that acquisition deal.”
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Rules of Engagement

How to interact. “During this acquisition, we will be putting out a document for the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT in how to deal with customer questions.”
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Sand bag

Sand bag - To hold back the true value of something in order to be responsible for lower expectations. This word is primarily used in the sales side of the business. “Danny blew his sales goals away by 85%, he had to be SAND BAGGING.” Additional Information: During the annual budget planning process, sales people will be asked what they believe their sales growth potential is for the upcoming year. They can be dishonest and reveal a number that is lower than what they know their real sales growth potential is in order to ensure that they’ll surpass their budgeted number for the upcoming year. Example: I am a sales professional and I know that I have a strong possibility to increase my sales by two million for the upcoming year based on a conversation I’ve had with a few potential clients who virtually promised me that they’ll agree to do business with me in the upcoming months. Instead of telling my manager that I believe that I can bring in two million, I tell him that I believe I can bring in only one million. The manager then gives me a growth target of one and half million which virtually assures me that I’ll surpass that number.
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SBR - Strategic Business Review

SBR - short for Strategic Business Review. "Yeah I'm preparing a one-pager for tomorrow's SBR with Wal-Mart."
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Score Points

Score Points - to have smaller increments of success in something or with someone. “I SCORED POINTS by asking my customer about her child’s recital!”
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Segmentation

Segmentation – to break the organization into various groups (segments) that will have a greater focus on a particular industry, sector, etc. “Most of our communication issues should be resolved as a result of our SEGMENTATION strategy.”
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Separation from the Company

Employees who are being laid off or canned. “We need to make their SEPARATION FROM THE COMPANY as painless as possible so we offered a good severance package and provided them a good lead time."
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Shot in the dark

Shot in the dark - to do something without a knowledge of the outcome. “Submitting our lowest price would be a SHOT IN THE DARK because it could work out in our favor or it could hurt us in the long run.”
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Significant Realignment

Significant Realignment – codeword for individuals being hired, fired, or moved usually at the executive level “Be patient during this SIGNIFICANT REALIGNMENT of our management team.” Contributed by Jim – way to go!
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Siphon

Siphon - to pass off something to another place. Usually someone is dumping the work on you when they use this term. “Let’s SIPHON the work off to Mary…I’m sure she’s not doing anything important.”
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Sizing or Size-up

Sizing or Size-up - the process of determining the financial benefit associated with an action or task. It is usually expressed in a dollar amount. "When we look at the overall SIZING associated with the email optimization project, it's pretty obvious where our time and energy should be spent."
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Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk - anything that is easily obtainable or something that is assumed to be achievable without much resistance. “Once we get the SVP’s approval of our offer, the rest is a SLAM DUNK.”
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SLT - Senior Leadership Team

SLT - short for Senior Leadership Team. The SLT in most organizations is comprised of the group of individuals who have the highest position attainable in their particular area of the organization. For instance, the CFO role is usually a SLT member because this individual is usually the highest-ranking officer in the area of finance.   “We have the SLT breathing down our necks because of the questions they received in yesterday's earnings call - it's going to be a long month ladies and gentlemen.”  
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Socialize (socialize it)

Socialize (socialize it) - to introduce a new concept into your daily conversation at work in order to gauge acceptance prior to introducing it formally “Before we put any more work into this, let the team SOCIALIZE it for some off the record feedback.” Contributed by Joe Treadaway – way to go Joe!
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Solution

Solution – Buzz word alert! This term is so widely, incorrectly, freely and broadly used that the only way to define it is to say it can mean anything you want it to mean. It might be the bosses’ buzzword of the decade. “I have a SOLUTION that fixes the Stop Gap Solution that we proposed to fill-in for the Director of Business Solutions’ customer engagement solution.”
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Sooner Than Later

Sooner Than Later - It basically means "soon" so why say the “than later” part anyways? “I have an appointment at my kid’s school at one so if you need something send it SOONER THAN LATER.”
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Soup to Nuts

Soup To Nuts - a phrase used to reference that something is comprehensive or done from beginning to end.

“Our website will eventually allow customers to complete all of our in-store services, online, SOUP TO NUTS.”
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Space

Space - Usually refers to an industry, sector, specialty or area "I've done a lot of work in the international development SPACE."
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Spearhead

Spearhead – to serve as the leader or primary person of responsibility for something. “Josh, I want you to SPEARHEAD the integration project we’ve just discussed.”
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Spend

Spend - cost; I don’t know why bosses make things more complicated but this term is confusing for new comers. For at least a month I thought they were saying “spin reports” instead of “spend reports.” What a bunch of complicated losers.
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Square

Square (Squared-away or Squared-off) – to be complete. “Are you SQUARE on our new go-to-market strategy?”
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Standardize

Standardize - to make something a normal procedure. “We need to STANDARDIZE our operations to create efficiencies, synergies all while reducing redundancies.”
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Stop Gap Solution

A good filler until something better is found. “This new report will at least give us a stop gap solution until a permanent fix is developed.
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Strategic Business Framework (SBF)

Strategic Business Framework (SBF) – a visual matrix-style plan that lays out the most important initiatives and activities of an organization during a specified period of time. “Team, please take a look at the SBF I sent you last night which lays out our 2012 plan on a go-forward basis.”
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Strategic Partner

Strategic Partner (partner) – a fancy sounding name for a partner (person, organization, etc). “We’ve gotten Jim’s computer company to serve as a STRATEGIC PARTNER in this initiative.”
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Strategic/Tactical

Just something they freaking made up that sounded good!  “We need to make sure we are STRATEGIC and TACTICAL in our game plan.”
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Strategy

Strategy – another buzz word of the last decade which has taken on so many meanings that it really depends on whose mouth it’s blurted out of. Bosses (and those that want to be a boss someday) use this word to denote something of importance or to refer to written or spoken plan of action to accomplish something. “Johnny, I want you to create a STRATEGY to turn around our retail sales that are currently under extreme pressure as a result of the longer winter season.”
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Streamline

Streamline – to reduce or make something simple. Bosses absolutely love this term! Use it frequently in your interactions with them and they’ll soon love you as well! “Yes, I’ve managed to STREAMLINE our processes which will result in an immediate 22.8% jump in productivity.” Boss replies, “Team, Josh did an excellent job STREAMLINING our processes and exemplifying customer-centricity. This is what I expect from all of you.”
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Street

Street - 1. Short for Wall Street. Usually referring to the Wall Street’s analysts’ opinion of a company or industry. “The STREET expected us to get $0.41 per share this quarter but we fell short of meeting their expectations. Time to sell my stock options before our stock tanks.” 2. Refers to anything that is external to the company or is considered general public information. “Do not under any circumstances put our actual price on the STREET for our competitors to get access to.
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Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Subject Matter Expert (SME)– anyone considered to be an expert in a particular area of interest. “This time around, we are looking for a SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT in SalesForce to fill the sales manager role.”
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Suite of Services

Suite of Services - A set of services offered by a company/organization. “We offer a world-class, award-winning SUITE OF SERVICES that can be leveraged to accommodate all of your needs.”

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Sustainability

Sustainability - the idea of being socially responsible and or having environmental awareness. “CEO: As a goal in our SUSTAINABILITY plan, we strive to reduce our carbon footprint by 15% within the next 5 years. I want to lead by example so I’m driving a hybrid Cadillac Escalade to my summer home.”
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Sustainable

Sustainable - not to be confused with “sustainability” this simply means something that can last throughout time or is more permanent. “We need to make sure our new go-to-market strategy is SUSTAINABLE enough to endure high oil prices.”
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Sync (Sync Up)

Sync (Sync Up) – (1) to establish a connection with someone. (2) To ensure that two parties are in-sync.

 “SYNC with Amanda when we finish discussing this because he’ll need to know what’s going on and how it relates to his IT team.”


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Synergies

Bringing two forces together into one that make the sum greater than their individual parts. “We think by exploring the logical SYNERGIES of our two companies, we will be unstoppable.”
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Synergy

Synergy – Buzzword alert! When two or more things are combined to make the combined item greater. “The SYNERGIES we gain from the integration of the two systems will be a game-changer.”
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Take-Aways

Take Aways - the summary or a new idea that was learned after a presentation, event, speech and/or meeting. "Malcolm, I heard you attended to the SXSW Interactive Festival, what were the TAKE-AWAYS from the main session?"
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Talent

Talent - workers. “We need to hire some TALENT that is experienced in direct selling to large accounts.”
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Tee-up

Tee-up - to start something. “Alright team, I asked Gilbert here to TEE-UP today’s call about customer-centricity.”
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Temp(s)

Temp(s) - Short for a worker(s) that is employed on a temporary basis. "We may need to hire some TEMPS to help us enter in the data until the end of Q1" Steele Says: "this term can be used in a derogatory fashion to describe low-wage, lower ranking or lower skilled workers. We abhor the use of this buzzword in this fashion."
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Think Outside the Box

Think Outside the Box – who knows what this means anymore? It used to mean to think about something differently but it’s so worn out and overused it has taken on another meaning altogether. Everyone, not just bosses should be outlawed from ever using this phrase again! “We need to THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX [you can basically put anything after this phrase]…”
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Thought-leadership

Thought-leadership - you know we’re not quite sure what the heck this word means but it’s said so often we had to add it. We think it means to be perceived as someone who is knowledgeable or forward thinking. “We need Danny to be viewed as an expert so he must provide more THOUGHT LEADERSHIP in our Tuesday client meetings.”
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Top-to-Top Meeting

Top-to-Top Meeting - meeting where only the bosses of two or more companies meet. “Yes we’re going to have a TOP TO TOP meeting so as a analyst you won’t be able to attend but I’ll debrief you afterwards.”
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Total Cost of Ownership

Total Cost of Ownership: including all costs that associated with being a customer which often means intangible costs such as lack of headaches, ability to get assistance quickly, reliability, etc. “Customer: So why should we go with a national account deal since it will be 6% more expensive? Response: Well, you should focus on obtaining the lowest TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP which is what you will have with us as a national account.”
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Touch-base

Touch-base – to communicate with someone or have a formal meeting with someone or a group of individuals. [So now we’re playing Hide and Go Seek by touching bases? Gimme a break people]
  1. “James, why don’t you TOUCH-BASE with Dave to make sure you two are on the same page.”
  2. “I will provide an update to Lisa in our TOUCH-BASE scheduled for tomorrow.”

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Transformational Change

Transformational Change – obviously because change that doesn't transform is no longer good enough these days. Don’t get us started on this phrase…we will just keep it really simple and say that it means to make a significant change that would put the organization on a different path or trajectory. In the age where most big companies are clawing to “reinvent themselves,” this phrase has become prevalent in most large companies. “We are striving for TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE this year and we cannot achieve it without the help of our greatest assets, which of course is all of you guys.”
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Triangulate

Triangulate - to include three parties into a process or interaction. “You’re talking to the contact and he’s talking to the contact so why don’t we TRIANGULATE our interaction.” (Probably the funniest add in a while)
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Turnkey Solution

Turnkey Solution - Something that is immediately ready for use and does not require any additional components in order to function. “We strive to provide TURNKEY SOLUTIONS to our customer’s biggest problems.”

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Under the Hood (Look)

Under the Hood (Look) – I got a great idea everyone, instead of being a corporate drone today, lets pretend to be auto mechanics. At least that's what comes to mind when one of my hare brained colleagues use this term to reference an exhaustive look into the components that make up a system – similar to someone looking under the hood of a vehicle to review the components. "Our new CRM is robust but we'll need take a LOOK UNDER THE HOOD to better understand how it links to our legacy systems."
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Urban

Urban (areas and individuals) - a code word for low-income areas and/or culturally diverse individuals. Bosses that work at large corporations want to ensure that they are politically correct at all times…you know to avoid lawsuits and bad press. Thus they create or morph the meaning of words like URBAN to fit comfortably into their politically correct world. So instead of URBAN referring to an area within or near a city-center, it now means low-income areas and the individuals that live in them. “We encourage all of our top-level managers to spend a few days each year visiting and donating to organizations that cater to URBAN areas and residents.”  
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Value-add

Value-add – anything that can be considered a valuable addition to something. You’ll hear this term used over and over again in most corporate settings. “Our ability to respond to a customer’s request within 24 hours is definitely a VALUE-ADD that we need to highlight in our new customer pitches.”
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Value-Prop

Short for “value proposition” which is a proposal or presentation that lists all of the benefits of an idea. “What VALUE PROP are you planning to use in next week’s presentation?”
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Vertical

Vertical – to describe a sector, segment or specific area of expertise “We cater to all areas of industry however our primary focus is the health care VERTICAL.” Contributed by Brendon – thank sir, we really value your input
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Vet

Vet (Vetting Out) – to examine. “Let’s VET OUT this process before we discuss it in tomorrow’s meeting.”
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WAR - Weekly Activity Report

Often referred to as WAR Report which is redundant since it mentions the term “report” twice. Don’t fret, repetitiveness is hardly a bad thing when you talk like a boss.
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War Cry

War Cry - what my childish, "Brave Heart" romanticizing coworker says in meetings to get support--Seriously dude, you're not Mel Gibson, you’re a finance manager...sit down please. “Colleagues, this is a WAR CRY, to sharpen your axes, polish your helmets and put on blue face paint…because we’re going to war.”
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Warm-transfer

Warm-transfer - (1.) or warm hand-off is when two parties come to a mutual understanding about a situation prior to transitioning the phone call over to another party. This form of warm-transfer is very prevalent in call center environments. “Now that I understand your situation, let me WARM-TRANSFER you over to someone in the billing department who can better assist you.” (2.) To transition something as a pilot in order to test it out. “We’re going to do a few WARM-TRANSFERS” with some smaller accounts before we begin to transition the larger accounts.” 3/4/14 - Special Thanks to "Stan" for the input on the definition for WARM-TRANSFER - Steele
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Water Cooler

To gossip. The water cooler was once a place we retreated to for refreshment and a brief but much needed break. Now bosses have warned us to avoid it at all costs. “Right now, it would be best to avoid the WATER COOLER because there are too many unproductive conversations being held in regards to this reorganization.”
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Wave

Wave - or phase of a project or process. “Our group is in the second WAVE of implementations.”
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Wheelhouse

Wheelhouse – anything that is within one’s ability to accomplish or referring to one’s talent. “This project involves a lot of data analysis and that’s definitely not in Mahoney’s wheelhouse.”
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White Space Opportunity

White Space Opportunity -  An area you don't have any content for or an unaddressed issue that requires information or a solution. No framework or protocol to fix the problem--only the tag line "white space opportunity" to define the deficiency.

  “Oh, don’t worry about the mission statement yet, that’ll be a WHITE SPACE OPPORTUNITY that I’ll get to later.” [Contributed by Chris Schulz]
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Workable Solution

Workable Solution - Another one of those phrases someone made up to sound intelligent. I guess it means to offer a suggestion or solution to a problem that can be acted upon. “We have to be strategic with this project and offer WORKABLE SOLUTIONS that are in lock-step with the customer’s expectations.”
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Workforce Rebalance

Workforce Rebalance - a codeword that companies use to layoff workers "We're going to undergo a WORKFORCE REBALANCE in the fourth quarter due to slow sales."
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World-class

World-Class - Best in a particular category/industry. Bosses love to use this term when talking about their employer. “We have a WORLD-CLASS sales team that does everything possible to accommodate our customer.”
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