When someone asks if they can conference with me I reply: “No. We can have a meeting. We can hold a discussion. We could engage in debate. But we can definitely cannot make a noun into a verb.” If pressed I also advise that at no point in our conversation will we incentivize, prioritize, interface, or benchmark. Nor will we construct a matrix, make a list of doables, or pick any low-hanging fruit.
If you have ever used any of the above phrases in anything other than an ironic context, repent! If you are currently using them, for the love of God, stop! If you use them and harbor the illusion that subordinates are doing anything other than laughing behind your back, seek help.
Think I’m kidding? Check out the BBC’s new list of annoying business phrases: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7457287.stm If you haven’t gone to management school you’ll find this hysterical. If you have, you probably won’t get it. The truly hopeless will believe that their personnel finds their business techniques useful because employees have demonstrated “buy in” during staff meetings. They are so clueless that they cannot recognize feigned interest, the desire of staff to keep their paychecks, or playing mind games to stave off boredom.
Some people dream of utopia. Me too. But for now I’d settle for MBA programs that aren’t run by morons that graduate imbeciles who will make the lives of their future staffs miserable by insulting their intelligence.