We continue on and on and on the episodic publication of The Management Contradictionary (Benjamin Marks, Rodney Marks, and Robert Spillane. Michelle Anderson Publishing: Melbourne).

It’s available in all good libraries, and quite a few bad ones, too. The book is in alphabetical order, so feel free to keep reading the blog posts – past, present and future – from eh? to zzz.

The Management Contradictionary defines the real meaning behind management terms.

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joint venture

Shared risk without shared returns.

junk mail

Slow spam.

just price



Fair enough.

just-in-time manufacturing or production

Justification for a seat-of-the-pants management style unsupported by adequate stock reserves.

key player

An employee you can’t sack before finding a replacement.

knee-jerk reaction

The tendency to knee a jerk in the reaction.


What information is to data, knowledge is to information. This knowing ledge is an essential platform from which to escape a profit plateau.

knowledge worker

Human catalyst who traces the progress of data to information to knowledge to wisdom, and remains unaffected by the journey.

Labour Day

Twenty-four hours during which no work takes place, in order to celebrate the eight hour day.


Manner of speaking that makes inarticulateness a virtue.


  1. Planning to have no plan.
  2. Planning to have a plan.
  3. Lazy fare.
  4. The economic belief that business can do better without government help.


The lessor of two evils.


What distinguishes humans from animals, and what humans use to deny the distinction.

lateral mobility

Moving the unsackable sideways.

lateral thinker

A prostitute at performance appraisal time.

lateral thinking

  1. Horizontal thinking performed by a management philosopher.
  2. Being promoted sideways, and, at the end of the day, thinking that that can’t be.


Honest response to a management decision.


The ritual celebration of the birth of a new product or service, at which the baby is sold to pay for contraception.


The logically defensible rules of conduct, which obviously cannot be a creation of government, and against which managers immunise themselves. Used to put entrepreneurs in jail and to frighten managers. Not applicable to leaders.


  1. Those who prosecute both sides of de fence.
  2. Justification for the existence of alternate dispute resolution.
  3. One of three groups of professionals, wedged between prostitutes and doctors, whom lawyers visit in sequence.


Weasel word for transferring the impact of management mistakes to subordinates.


Poor motivation.

lead by example

I am an example of good leadership; you should lead like I lead. Then there’ll be no followers …

lead time

The time between completing one prerequisite task and commencing its successor, minus the time taken to calculate it.


If a manager is someone with paid followers, then a leader is someone with unpaid followers who will jump over the cliff with them, or even for them.


  1. What a leader does. And a leader shows leadership. Only a leader can see this apparent paradox as truth. The corollaries of this statement are:
    • if you think this reasoning is circular, you’ll never make it to the top; and
    • if you’re not confused, then you really don’t understand what’s going on.
  2. The relationship between the led and those who want to bewitch them.

learning curve

  1. A rounded education.
  2. A metaphor of a graphical representation of exponential acquisition.
  3. Turning educational corners.
  4. An educated guess.

learning opportunity

  1. A failure. There is no absolute failure, except the failure to say that your failure is not a learning opportunity.
  2. Anything and everything.

learning organisation

Potential customer for a teaching organisation.


A one-sided exchange of ideas between two parties, without passing through the minds of either.


A refuge for the white-collar criminal to retreat behind when explaining non-compliant corporate governance behaviour.

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Rodney Marks

I’m an Australian corporate comedian, performing comic hoaxes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.

For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and website: www.comedian.com.au. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.