In a meeting this morning our venerable CEO said the firm should pivot to stay on track with a paradigm shift in the industry.

I recognised the words he was using, but not the way he was using them. Perplexed, I ventured a tentative ‘pardon?’

‘Stay online, Dixon,’ he replied. ‘We need synergy on this.’

Now utterly flummoxed, I looked to my peers for support. I had no idea what the boss was saying, but they were all nodding sagely. The paraplanner next to me was steepling her hands under her chin and saying ‘hmmm’ under her breath.

I tried following the conversation. I really did. But, during a seemingly innocuous agenda item around new account pricing, I got lost again when our CFO said that we need to circle back if we’re going to close the loop.

There was more gobbledygook. Several issues needed to be unpacked, I was told, leading me to wonder what it was that we had, in fact, packed in the first place. Questions were asked about who had the bandwidth to ink the deal. Someone used the word leverage twice in one sentence.

At one point I thought we might have been discussing the need for teamwork, but I suspect teamwork is one of the words that has been abandoned in favour of the new ones I couldn’t stop hearing. Now working together meant alignment, and walking in lockstep. If I circled back I’d probably get back to synergy.

It felt like I was listening to a different language. Some of it resembled English, but not the plain variety I was familiar with.

No one used anything anymore, they utilised it. No one even knew anything these days, they’re were cognisant of it.

In a further sign that the world’s gone mad, our head of communications, who should really know better, joined the fray by adding that our value proposition was ‘very unique’. I can only imagine this was to help clarify the situation for those unfortunates that thought our value proposition was in fact slightly unique.

Defeated, I decided to take a new tack. I got up from my chair and walked around the boardroom, steepling my own hands in front of my face as I circled the group. ‘Dixon?’ asked the boss.

I put a finger in his direction to show that I was deep in thought and needed a moment.

After a full lap of the room I grabbed the shoulders of the nearest chair and addressed the crowd.

‘Guys, can we take a step back here?’ I asked. ‘What is the problem we’re really trying to solve?’

Stunned silence. Eventually an insurance adviser spoke up.

‘Ummm… we’re pricing up an SOA for the Andersons?’

I looked around the room and repeated his answer slowly. ‘Pricing… SOA… Andersonssssss…’

‘There’s one vital question that remains unanswered’, I said. “Will it scale?’

Dixon Bainbridge may be contacted by email only since his phone was disconnected - and it's best to try in the mornings. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Professional Planner, and not even necessarily grounded in reality, to be frank.
One comment on “Bamboozling buzzwords”
  1. Well said Dixon.
    You may however have missed the most annoying of all this new language -“learnings”. How that ever became mainstream, a part of our lexicon, I’ll never know.
    Can we please circle back to “what I have learned” in order to get our true synergies in motion?

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