Translating Management Speak

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: That’s very interesting. TRANSLATION: I disagree.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I don’t disagree. TRANSLATION: I disagree.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I don’t totally disagree with you. TRANSLATION: You may be right, but I don’t care.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You have to show some flexibility. TRANSLATION: You have to do it whether you want to or not.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We have an opportunity. TRANSLATION: You have a problem.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You obviously put a lot of work into this. TRANSLATION: This is awful.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: In a perfect world. TRANSLATION: Just get it working and get it out the door.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Help me to understand. TRANSLATION: I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I don’t think you do either.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You just don’t understand our business. TRANSLATION: We don’t understand our business.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You need to see the big picture. TRANSLATION: My boss thinks it’s a good idea.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: My mind is made up. I am adamant on the subject. There is no room for discussion. But if you do want to discuss it further, my door is always open. TRANSLATION: &%^$ you.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I appreciate your contribution. TRANSLATION: @#%* you!

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We’re going to follow a strict methodology here. TRANSLATION: We’re going to do it my way.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I didn’t understand the e-mail you said you sent. Can you give me a quick summary? TRANSLATION: I still can’t figure out how to start the e-mail program.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Cost of ownership has become a significant issue in desktop computing. TRANSLATION: We want all of the benefits and none of the costs.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We have to leverage our resources. TRANSLATION: You’re working weekends.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Individual contributor. TRANSLATION: Employee who does real work.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Your project is on hold. TRANSLATION: We’ve put a bullet in it.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Wrong answer. TRANSLATION: You didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You needed to be more proactive. TRANSLATION: You should have protected me from myself.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I’d like your buy-in on this. TRANSLATION: I want someone else to blame when this thing bombs.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We want you to be the executive champion of this project. TRANSLATION: I want to be able to blame you for my mistakes.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We need to syndicate this decision. TRANSLATION: We need to spread the blame if it backfires.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We have to put on our marketing hats. TRANSLATION: We have to put ethics aside.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: It’s not possible. It’s impractical. It won’t work. TRANSLATION: I don’t know how to do it.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: It’s a no-brainer. TRANSLATION: It’s a perfect decision for me to handle.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I’m glad you asked me that. TRANSLATION: Public relations has written a carefully phrased answer.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I see you involved your peers in developing your proposal. TRANSLATION: One person couldn’t possibly come up with something this stupid.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: There are larger issues at stake. TRANSLATION: I’ve made up my mind so don’t bother me with the facts.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: I’ll never lie to you. TRANSLATION: The truth will change frequently.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Our business is going through a paradigm shift. TRANSLATION: We have no idea what we’ve been doing, but in the future we shall do something completely different.


MANAGEMENT SPEAK: Human Resources. TRANSLATION: A bulk commodity, like lentils or cinder blocks.

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: The upcoming reductions will benefit the vast majority of employees. TRANSLATION: The upcoming reductions will benefit me.