The first actual person I spoke to this morning was Krisma Boet, a.k.a Bean (*Shorty, the taxi guard, doesn`t count).
My conversation with boetie put a smile on my face at his expense *grin*. My brother is a victim of the Corporate Buzzword (as I am sure we all are) and I always kill myself laughing when I hear his title. *grin*
The Corporate Buzzword – You know what I`m talking aboutâ€¦the curse of all modern-day corporates. Sometimes the Corporate Buzzword (and it`s terrible step-child, The Corporate Acronym) is created by Project Managers (apologies to all the PM Fundi`s out there!); sometimes it is used (and abused) by lazy colleagues who want to sound clever and important. Mostly, it`s used by my team to play Bingo.
Corporate Buzzwords can be defined as a string of words that vaguely resemble language, and may or may not be grammatically correct, but are utterly meaningless. That definition is more centered on the institution of mental health and not really corporate life. How ironic. Another common way to refer to the same thing is “bullshit”. Really, they are about the same thing.
What it really is, is industry or office buzzwords and catch phrases used to confuse the listener into thinking the person talking is smart, articulate and very very busy. Very busy. At the same time, the speaker is conveying nothing at all. Then another clever chicken will speak up and say the same nothing while simply rearranging the same or similar words. Others sit around nodding as though they get it. Then there are people like me that get a headache from rolling their eyes.
To be fair, my team never plays bingo in other people`s meetings. Only our own. Think of it as the meeting equivalent of a condom. A preventative measure against the tempting game of let`s spout as many acronyms and slick sayings as we possibly can in the next 30 minutes. I am especially pedantic about this. We are communicators (or Spin Doctors, as someone called me a few days ago. Technically, I am not a Spin Doctor. Because I have to be factual and tell the truth. At night, when nobody`s aroundâ€¦I Spin Doctor the hell out of everything. It`s wicked. I love it). Communication Practitioners must never lose sight of the meaning of words and how these corporate buzzwords can be used in any Spin Doctoring exercise to sell, cajole, push, please and convince the unsuspecting public into believing we know what we`re doing. But we do know what we`re doingâ€¦and, guess what, we don`t need to re-write the English language in order to show you that we know what we`re doing. So, in the spirit of all that is good and just and in the name of all that is pink and holyâ€¦we vigilantly guard ourselves against the propensity to get carried away with phrases like, Out of the Loop (meaning I just don`t bloody know and I`m cheesed off that somebody didn`t let me know), Creating Synergy (meaning I have no idea how to do this, but I am a lazy cow and don`t want to do my job. I`ll pretend to be your buddy as long as I can piggy-back off your success) and, my old favourite, Stakeholder Buy in (when this goes pear-shaped, you`re all going down with me!!).
How did we manage to do business before we all started sounding so clever and vague? Really!
The other bugbear is Acronyms (the aforementioned evil step-child). The use of Acronyms in the workplace is almost asinine. Almost everything has an acronym associated with it. Your job is an acronym. Your organisation is an acronym at every level. Your projects are acronyms. The building is an acronym. The site is an acronym. The region is an acronym. You get the idea.
Here’s an example: I’m in a group called KLD, which is in a group called PIF (formerly known as CICM), which is in a group called ER5 (formerly PCS, formerly PCFS, formerly PDS), which is in a group called GMaC (formerly ISTG, formerly CoMMs). The renaming tactic is partly to adjust the names of groups and programs to match what work is being attempted and also as a way to refresh identity when a reorganisation occurs. After a while, it just becomes stupid.
You could introduce yourself to another employee and make up an acronym on the spot that relates to your job and the person would just nod, stepping right into your bullshit. “Hi, I’m Jean. I’m a PLD in LSTG. I’m currently managing the CMJ program, Matrix into BCM”.
So, here is a quick guide on how to play: BullShit Bingo.
Do you keep falling asleep in meetings? What about those long and boring conference calls? Here’s a way to change all of that.
1. Go to this site and download, print, copy and cut out this card. Enough for all the players. In fact, eventually you can change the terms in the blocks to make it interesting and to keep up to date.
2. Now check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases as they are used in a meeting.
3. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally politely say Bingo in manner of person caught in coughing spell *cough*bingo*cough*
4. Ultimate loser buys drinks on Friday.
Real Testimonials from satisfied players:
“I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won.” John Van Vuuren, Koekenap.
“My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically.” Susie Q, Brackenfell
What fun! Meetings will never be the same for me after my first win.” Kobus Grobelaar, Johannesburg, CBD
“I nearly dropped my mop. I knew it would be my lucky day when I was asked to serve the buscuits. When I came in the atmosphere was tense” Anne Davies, TeaLady, MakeBelieve Org.
“The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed ‘BINGO!’ for the third time in two hours. The Bullshit Bingo Championship will be played at the next meeting.” Thandiwe Latsego, GHY Department, PHGO Division.
*Shorty: The Taxi Guard who greets me every morning on my way to work. He introduced himself to me one morning, while leaning out the window at the red light. Passion Gap notwithstandingâ€¦a real catch ladies.