This fairly comprehensive post reminded me of a minor skirmish with the corporate world.
We'd signed on McKinsey & Co. for a study of two sectors in the state. What they would call a major engagement - a team of six Bright Young Things working full-time out of our office for over a year, with a visiting Associate or Headless Honcho or Local Ringmeister or whatever they call it. Even an unsmiling Junior Partner who dropped by once in a while and "set up meetings" all over the place. Barrel-loads of corporate energy. All in all, a pleasant and productive experience working with sharp hard-working young people.
By the end of the first week I'd got used to e-mails and early morning phone calls that "set up team meetings". From my point of view (i.e., "where I was coming from"), this was Weirdissimus Grandoso. They were on the first floor, I was on the third. All they had to do was walk up and talk over a cup of coffee. (And chocolate biscuits. Parle "Hide & Seek". Very nice, except that three of the six were on the Atkins' Diet.) Just another aspect of their "professionalism".
I could not get used to their B-school jargon. For examples, check out Corporate Whore's post.
If they couldn't tell me what they meant in simple English, or Hindi or Bangla, if they had to invent a whole new language for it, the chances were very high that they didn't know what they wanted to say.
I told them so. They smiled in pitying fashion, as who should say, "These Gorment babus, educating them is half our job!"
Week Two. Team meeting set up in my room. I armed myself with strong ammunition. A sheet of paper with a 5x5 grid of large squares.
Explanation - this is the "Bullshit Bingo".* Every time they used one of their B-school catch-phrases - incentivise, leverage, take it out of the loop, closure, apples to apples - I would write it down in one of the squares. Position depended on who used the term; if it was somebody on my right, I filled in a right-hand square and so on.
They were mystified.
Until I explained.
As soon as I had filled five squares in a row in any direction - vertically, horizontally or diagonally - I would say "Bullshit! This meeting's over!"
That was a very brief meeting. It took them a week to manage their bruised egos and come back to me. But it worked. From then on, we spoke plain English.
**** ***** - Link courtesy Dhoomketu