Business jargon….in a nutshell


“Jargon allows us to camouflage intellectual poverty with verbal extravagance”
 – David Pratt

Business jargon – you‘ve gotta love it! If you don’t know what I’m on about, here’s a quick crash course that will upskill you in a jiffy. The following few paragraphs will give you some quick wins, by allowing you to pick the low hanging fruit and possibly even prevent you from getting some egg on your face! Although you might want to get product stickiness in your product offerings, while simultaneously getting your product to wash its own face, take care to never get your hands dirty in the process.

With this article, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you, by mentioning some of these jargon-based pearls of wisdom here. You need to realise that in order for you to make some headway in the corporate world, you’ll need to get some skin in the game, stop being an armchair general and put your head on a block instead.

It’s important to start by getting your ducks in a row and to realise that this is not a dog and pony show. If you really want to get bang for your buck, your strategy needs to be completely above board. For far too long, you’ve been content to simply stick a Band-aid on the problem, while you should have actually aired it out. Greenfields ideas are not inherently bad, but before you start making waves, you should pacify those backseat drivers who might start throwing their toys, because they think that you are actually just poking the bear

The irony is that although you might merely be asking them to give your ideas the thumbs-up, just gifting them the silver bullet, might not put the issue to bed. Vanilla offerings seldom if ever just cut it, I mean, one does not simply just thumb-suck a brainwave out of thin air!

In order to keep all the balls in the air, mere carrots and sticks will not always work. Rubber stamping poorly thought-through ideas, could easily lead to ideas being parked in the parking lot, mothballed or in extreme cases even be file thirteen’ed.

Just remember to mention that the elephant in the room is not necessarily a best-of-breed, 800-pound gorilla with a few bells & whistles. Don’t just try winging it by checking all the boxed to bring it home. This would be like herding cats and we all know that doing that would really be like brain surgery, but at least you won’t need to be a rocket scientist.

Holistically speaking, shooting fish in a barrel, would be easier if you put lipstick on a pig first, before you start moving the needle because when you run out of needles, you would be out of pocket, and then you’d really need to start thinking out of the box.

Personally I think you should push the envelope by creating a roadmap that would really resonate with your target audience, since no one likes to reinvent the wheel.

At the end of the day, accept that in the disruptive ecosystems that we live in, in order to display some blue sky thinking, you should disambiguate your cutting edge value proposition … so come on, level the playing field, by taking it to the next level. Strike while the iron is still hot and spill the beans to everyone about what your secret sauce is.

You can be a rock star, even in a zero sum game….BUT…always remember…it is what it is!!

Author: Danie Van Den Berg, CBAP

Danie van den Berg is a consulting business analyst from Johannesburg, South-Africa. Over the past 18 years he has worked in a variety of industries using both traditional and agile delivery lifecycles. His specialities include Requirements gathering & elicitation (ERP, Web & Android), Business Process Re-engineering, Workflow Automation and process optimisation. He enjoys mentoring BA professionals, teaching business analysis topics and prepping BAs for CBAP exams. Danie is passionate about the role a Business Analyst plays within organisations and believes it is central to changing and improving the world we work and live in.

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Matt posted on Monday, July 16, 2018 2:40 AM
My favourite response to the classic "It is what it is" is yes, but it also "isn't what it isn't!"
elissasmart posted on Friday, April 5, 2019 3:54 AM
I was studying at NYU Stern School of Business. I had to write my college paper before graduation on "Business jargon". Here are more interesting camouflaged intellectual poverties with verbal extravagance from my work:
- 800-pound gorilla. Convey the idea with more style by saying a force to be reckoned with.
- Disambiguate. The word you’re looking for is clarify;
Evangelist. A generous, one-sentence Yelp review does not an evangelist make. Evangelism takes fiery passion and sustained the unsolicited effort. Too often businesses describe as evangelists those who are loyal customers or casual fans of the brand;
Guesstimate. Replace with a rough estimate and reduce the odds of being taken for an idiot;
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