Many management definitions are doubtful, with true meaning being avoided, evaded and massaged. This is true of diplomacy, bureaucracy, the so-called Professions, politics, the non-profit sector, public administration and business. Here are some hopefully helpful clarifications, for your amusement only. No educational, motivational or inspirational benefit is claimed here. These 20 connotations are presented without cynicism, but with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  1. built to last  A product that will work perfectly well until you’re promoted.
  2. case study  A business war story written to support your management philosophy.
  3. caveat  A warning that lets you off the hook.
  4. challenge  Problem.
  5. chaos  What will result if you don’t do it my way.
  6. cliché  Jargon used by somebody else.
  7. collaboration  You doing what I tell you to do, in a timely fashion.
  8. committee  A group of expendable employees whose role is to act as a collective scapegoat.
  9. consultant  A highly educated unemployed person continually attending paid job interviews.
  10. decision  A choice made sometime in the future or in the past, by someone else, based on false assumptions.
  11. defenestration  The assertion, held as true by Apple aficionados, cognoscenti and devotees, that without Microsoft everything would be better.
  12. demystification  The belief that all beliefs are better if explained, except the belief in demystification, the disbelief of which must by suspended.
  13. dialogue  Listen to me and nod if you agree.
  14. downsizing  Sacking people with linguistic sensitivity.
  15. e-commerce  A form of value-creation in a fantasy world, where the usual economic measures do not apply.
  16. effective  Making things actually happen.
  17. efficient  Making things happen quickly, even if they don’t work.
  18. error-free  A claim made by software developers to show that they have a sense of humour.
  19. fad  Someone else’s favourite management theory, explanation, system, possibility, law or abstract structure.
  20. feedback  A way of burying complaints, like a suggestion box over a garbage bin.

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