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89 Business Clichés by Eric Jackson for Forbes.com 1. It’s a paradigm shift = I don’t know what’s going on in our business. But we’re not making as much money as we used to. 2. We’re data-driven = We try not to make decisions by the seat of our pants. When possible, we try to base them in facts. 3. We need to wrap our heads around this = Gosh, I never thought of that. We need to discuss that…. 4. It’s a win-win = Hey, we both get something out of this (even though I’m really trying to get the best from you) 5. ROI [used in any sentence] = Look at me, I’m very financially-minded, even if I never took any finance classes in school 6. Let’s blue sky this/let’s ballpark this = Let’s shoot around a bunch of ideas since we have no clue what to do 7. I’m a bit of a visionary = I’m a bit of an egomaniac and narcissist 8. I’m a team player/we only hire team players = I hope everyone on the team thinks this is a meritocracy, even though I’m the dictator in charge 9. Let’s circle back to that/Let’s put that in the parking lot/let’s touch base on that later/let’s take this off-line = Shut up and let’s go back to what I was talking about 10. We think outside the box here/color outside the lines = We wouldn’t know about how to do something innovative if it came up to us and bit us in the behind 11. I/we/you don’t have the bandwidth = Since we cut 60% of our headcount, we’re all doing the job of 3 people, so we’re all burned out 12. This is where the rubber meets the road = Don’t screw up 13. Net net/the net of it is/when you net it out = I never studied finance or accounting but I sound like someone who can make money if I keep talking about another word for profit 14. We’ll go back and sharpen our pencils = We’ll go back and offer you the same for 20% less in hopes you’ll buy it before the end of the quarter


15. It’s like the book “Crossing the Chasm”/”Blue Ocean”/”Good To Great” / “Tipping Point” / “Outliers” = I’ve never read any of these books but I sound literate if I quote from them. And, besides, you cretins probably never read them either to call me out on it 16. Let’s right-size it = Let’s whack/fire a bunch of people 17. It’s next-gen/turn-key/plug-and-play = I want it to sound so technical that you’ll just buy it without asking me any questions 18. We need to manage the optics of this = How can we lie about this in a way people will believe? 19. This is creative destruction = I’ve never read Joseph Schumpeter but our core business is getting killed so it’s your responsibility to come up with a new product the market will buy 20. We don’t have enough boots on the ground = I don’t want to be fired for this disastrous product/country launch, so I’m going to sound tough referring to the military and say I don’t have enough resources 21. Deal with it = Tough cookies 22. By way of housekeeping = This makes the boring stuff I’m about to say sound more official 23. That’s the $64,000 question [sometimes, due to inflation, people will denominate this cliche in millions or billions of dollars] = I don’t know either 24. Let’s square the circle = I’m someone who can unify two team members’ views and sound important 25. It’s our cash cow/protect/milk the cash cow = If that business goes south, we’re all out of a job 26. It’s about synergies/1 + 1 = 3 = I don’t get the math either, but it sounds like more and more is better, right? 27. Who’s going to step up to the plate? = One of you is going to do this and it’s not going to be me 28. We’re eating our own dog food = It sounds gross but we seem like honest folks if we do this. 29. We need to monetize/strategize/analyze/incentivize = When in doubt, stick “-ize” on the end of a word and say we’ve got to do this and 9 out of 10 times, it will sound action-oriented. 30. We did a Five Forces/SWOT analysis/Value Chain analysis = We didn’t really do any of that, but none of you probably even remember Michael Porter, so what the heck


31. It was a perfect storm = We really screwed up but we’re going to blame a bunch of factors that are out of our hands (especially weather) 32. At the end of the day…. = OK, enough talking back and forth, we’re going to do what I want to do 33. Who’s got the ‘R’? [i.e., responsibility to do what we just spent 20 minutes talking about aimlessly] = If I ask the question, it won’t be assigned to me 34. Let’s put lipstick on this pig = plug your nose 35. I’m putting a stake in the ground here… = I’m a leader, simply because I’m using this cliche 36. We’re customer-focused/proactive/results-oriented = That can’t be bad, right? This is motherhood and apple pie stuff 37. Our visibility into the quarter is a little fuzzy = Sales just fell off a cliff 38. That’s not our core competency/we’re sticking to our knitting = We’re just glad we’re making money in one business, because we’d have no clue how to get into any other business 39. Well, we’re facing some headwinds there = You put your finger on the area we’re panicking over 40. It’s a one-off = Do whatever they want to close the sale 41. Incent it = That’s not a verb but I just made it into one because I’m a man/woman of action 42. I’m an agent of change = This makes it sound like I know how to handle the chaos that our business is constantly going through 43. We’ve got to do a little more due diligence there = Don’t have a clue but does that legal term make me sound detail-oriented? 44. Don’t leave money on the table = Be as greedy with them as possible 45. We take a “ready, fire, aim” approach here = We totally operate on a seat-of-the-pants basis 46. Hope is not a strategy = I don’t have a strategy, but this makes it sound like I’m above people who also don’t have a strategy 47. We have to tear down the silos internally = Our organizational structure is such a mess that I’m going to be under-mined by other departments at every turn 48. I don’t think it will move the needle = This won’t get my boss excited


49. Good to put a face to the name = I’d really rather talk to that person behind you 50. Let’s take the 30,000 foot view… = I like to think I see the big picture 51. It’s the old 80-20 rule = I really have no idea what the rule was, but I just want to focus on the things that will make us successful 52. We need to manage expectations = Get ready to start sucking up to people 53. It’s not actionable enough/what’s the deliverable? = You guys do the work on refining the idea. I’m too tired. 54. My 2 cents is… = This opinion is worth a heck of a lot more than 2 cents 55. I’m going to sound like a broken record here… = I want to clearly point out to you idiots that I’ve made this point several times before 56. We’ve got too many chiefs and not enough Indians = I want to be the Chief 57. Going forward = Don’t screw up like this again 58. My people know I’ve got an open door policy = I’ve told my direct reports to come to me if they have a problem, so why should I feel bad if they complain I’m too busy to talk to them? 59. It’s gone viral = Someone sent a tweet about this 60. I know you’ve been burning the candle on both ends = Get ready to do some more 61. It’s scalable = We can sell a lot of it in theory 62. It’s best-of-breed = We hired a market research firm to say that 63. We’re all about value-add = Unlike our competitors who seek to add no value 64. What’s our go-to-market? = Has anyone planned this out, because I’ve been too busy? 65. I’m drinking from a fire hose right now = I want a little sympathy over here, because I’m tired of carrying this company on my back 66. We’re getting some push back = They’re not buying it 67. We need to do a level-set = I’ve never been inside a Home Depot, but this phrase makes me sound handy 68. It’s basic blocking and tackling = How could you screw this up? I also played high school football and those were the best days of my life.


69. Let’s put our game faces on = Get serious, guys 70. We’ve got it covered from soup to nuts = I have no idea what that means, but don’t you dare question my prep work on it 71. We don’t want to get thrown under the bus = So let’s throw someone else first 72. But to close the loop on this… = Always the more theoretical Business Development/Strategy guys who say this, so they can sound thorough 73. What are “next steps”? = Did anyone take notes during the last 90 minutes of this meeting? 74. This is low-hanging fruit = Get this done quickly 75. We need a few quick wins = We’ve got to trick people into thinking we know what we’re doing by some successes we can point to and claim as ours 76. It’s a [Insert Company Name] killer = Did I get your attention yet with the Freddy Kreuger imagery associated with the company who’s currently eating our lunch? 77. I want to address the elephant in the room = I know you think I’m trying to cover up/gloss over something, so I might as well talk about it 78. This is the next big thing/new thing = Some of our 20-somethings have told me this is really cool 79. This time it’s different because… = Don’t wait for the explanation… simply run for the hills 80. What are the best practices on this? = How can I cover my behind that we’re just doing stuff the way other good people have supposedly done this? 81. This is our deliverable = I know this sounds like something that comes in a body bag, but it makes our PowerPoint sound tougher than it actually is 82. We’ll loop you in when we need to = You’re not that important to know about all the details on this 83. We want this to move up and to the right = I failed high school algebra but someone said this means we’ll be making a lot of money if this happens 84. We’re going through a re-org = No one knows what the heck is going on at the moment 85. We’ve got to increase our mind-share with the customer = I think I would have been happier as a doctor doing lobotomies than in marketing as a career path


86. I don’t think you’re comparing apples to apples = Let me tell you how you should really think about this issue 87. Let’s peel back the onion on this = I want to sound thorough so this is a better way of telling you that than simply clearing my throat 88. You phoned it in = I was too busy checking my email during your presentation that I didn’t listen 89. I want you to run with this = I just threw you into the deep end of the pool and you’re on your own to figure it out If you commit all these 89 to memory, I confer onto you an MBA of Business Cliches. Congratulations By Eric Jackson for Forbes.com

89 Business Clichés by Eric Jackson for Forbes.com  

Seeming like something straight out of Dilbert or The Office, this hilarious list of 89 Business Clichés by Eric Jackson for Forbes.com is s...

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