Life in the silo

It’s been a busy week at work. Meetings, workshops, a stage gate interview (it’s a project management thing). Stakeholders were engaged, we scrummed, we sought synergies, touch points and leverage points. Artefacts were, sadly, insufficiently socialised and issues were parked. The operationalisation of frameworks and strategies was discussed. So too was nomenclature and the merits of definitional taxonomy. Fertile ground indeed for this instalment of Corporate Speak.

Flick (v)

Corporate definition: To email; virtually hand a document to someone else.

Use when: Time is of the essence, and things are so urgent that the multi-syllabic word ‘email’ will simply take too long.

Used in a sentence: ‘I’ll need you to flick me that project business case before sundown if there’s to be any chance of mutual outcomes’.

Silo (n, adj)

Corporate definition: A metaphorical fortress of non‑collaboration.

Use when: You’re well and truly fed up with people not seeing the light.

Used in a sentence: ‘For a more robust understanding of these paradigm shifts, we all need to get out of the silo.’

‘Siloed thinking of that sort will get us nowhere.’

Traction (n)

Corporate definition: Stakeholder interest or buy-in. Support for an idea or proposal.

Use when: Describing how you gained stakeholder interest, support for an idea or swayed someone’s opinion.

Used in a sentence: ‘In order to realise her plan for a more Google-like office environment, Bianca sought traction from her director to install a sandpit.’

Any other Corporate Speak clangers you’d like to share?


What’s a big word for ‘begin’?

I’ve long been fascinated with language and words, with writing and meaning and with the wider realm of all things communication. I’m multi‑lingual (but rusty!) and love how sounds can be unlocked and become meaningful language. I also remain utterly convinced that there is a word for anything and everything in some language, somewhere.

Wordy Goodness is, as you’d expect, a blog about words. I will be posting about individual words – there will be a series of regular segments such as Corporate Speak and Top 5 – but I will also post about groups of words. Maybe a turn of phrase I like (or not), a powerful metaphor, a funny sentence, a paragraph that made me laugh or cringe or reflect. Something that struck a chord with me.

I’m not a linguist and certainly not an academic but will always try to make things informative or, failing that, thought provoking and open to discussion.

And so to begin (or initiate, commence, inaugurate or launch), here is my first installment of Corporate Speak. All Corporate Speak entries are true stories from my project management day job in a big (Dilbertesque – is that a word?!) corporation:

Learnings (noun)

Corporate definition: Something learned; knowledge gained from something; the outcomes of learning. Rather like a ‘lesson’ but better.

Use when: Describing the outcomes of acquiring new knowledge or information when the words ‘lessons’ or ‘insight’ don’t exude enough character.

Used in a sentence: ‘To ameliorate our core competencies, we must reflect upon the key learnings from the conference.’