If you’ve spent any time in the emergency services, you’ve probably answered the phone at home by saying “go ahead”, or asked the other person if they’re “free to speak” – terms which sound fairly ridiculous to the outside world. When you start looking at a career change or engaging more with the private sector, you’ll find they have their own language too. Here’s our guide (both practical and light-hearted) to some of the key phrases you’ll encounter…
Bandwidth – how busy you are. “Tom, do you have bandwidth to action any points this week?”
Boiling the ocean – doing more than necessary. Often said when solutioning.
The C Suite (also CxO) – Anyone whose job title starts with “Chief” and ends with “Officer”. Extra points for replacing the usual middle words like “Finance” with something more like “Vision”.
Lipstick on a pig – making something a bit rubbish look passable, also known as repurposing
Strawman – a rough outline of a plan, not much detail (also quick and dirty)
Helicopter view – when you don’t want your strawman too closely scrutinised
30,000 feet view – when your strawman barely exists
Solutioning – coming up with a solution. Clearly not a real word and should be outlawed along with
other nouns as verbs such as “to medal” and “to action”
Pipeline and funnel – might be sales opportunities, might not. Can’t commit right now.
Deck – whatever you do, don’t just call it PowerPoint.
Content – what your deck is made of
Cascade – because everyone knows sh*t flows downhill
Downstream – see cascade. A bad place to be.
Deep-dive – working out what’s wrong will take us a while and cost you a lot
Reach out – see attached flow chart
Offline (“let’s take this offline”) – usually one of two things. A) you’ve embarrassed me on a conference call and a bollocking will follow in private B) I don’t know the answer but can’t say that in front of all these people
Virtual teams – when no-one wants to go to the office unless they really have to
Low-hanging fruit, aka quick wins – the contractual equivalent of 2am in any nightclub in Britain
Traction – crucial to going forward
Device-agnostic or vendor-agnostic – what we’ve got will work with anything (we’ll work out how to do it later, maybe by creating a helicopter view of our strawman for you…)
Bleeding edge – so cutting edge it hurts
Skin in the game – an incentive or motive to see things through, possibly caused by the bleeding edge being so sharp