Volume 415, Issue 6 - August 2006

The Window Guy
Corporate Speak
How to be “P.C.” in the Window World
by R. Mark “Webster” Reasbeck

Recently, I have been to several, what I call “Rah-Rah” meetings, with some national builders. These are the type of gatherings where you’re not sure what is behind it but, just like going to an Amway meeting, someone is going to want something from you. 

The one thing I have noticed is that I need to start bringing one of those “Reggae’s Dinosaureses,” so I can figure out what in the world they are talking about. What happened to regular English? You know, the words we say to describe the things we mean? Gone. 

We now have a whole new language of “corporate speak” that is used to distract us from what they really mean, but at the same time, makes us feel good. As I give you words and definitions, please feel free to “incorporate” them into your daily conversations. Put them on flash cards and test them with your friends. It’ll be “result driven.”

P.C. 101 

Knowledge Base- Replacement for; highly educated or experienced, possess “street smarts,” is savvy and is recognized as an expert in his/her field. “Hey, that is one sharp cookie. Did you see the size of that guy’s knowledge base?”

Critical Path- This is the new word for how the paper trail is followed through the office. I have one question, if it’s always on a critical path on a day-to-day basis, then what kind of path is it on when it really is “critical?” Silly me, it will then be on the critical path of least resistance. 

“That Being Said”- This is a new intro catch-phrase that really means; “The words I am about to say mean absolutely nothing to you if you haven’t listened to anything I have said in the last 10 minutes, so then, that being said, the following words will mean nothing to you also.”

Price Point- This word is surrounded by mystery. It seems everyone has a price point. It’s the place you go mentally that says that’s too much to pay for this item but it’s never verbalized. The trouble is, no one ever attaches a dollar figure to the price point, and we just assume we know what the other person’s price point is because we know what we will or will not pay for something. I can see the newspaper ads now, “Jackson Furniture’s Price Point Sale”.

Price Sensitive- This is a real guy’s word. There is no commitment here. What we are thinking when we approach a customer is, “We don’t want to say you are cheap, but the truth of the matter is you are cheap and you buy the lowest bid every time,” but out of our mouth comes,” I am sensitive to the fact that budgets are a key factor in your decision making.” Maybe the newspaper ad would then read, “Jackson Furniture’s Price Point for Price Sensitive People Sale”

Caveat- Doesn’t that sound so much better than those dirty old words like “glitch” or “disclaimer?” You can almost hear an air raid siren in those words. Caveat, on the other hand, sounds like you need a bowl of French onion soup served by Pepe Le Pew. But it really means, “Sir, I would like to audition for the Olympic Swim Team, but with one caveat, I can’t swim.”

Goals in Alignment- This one is somewhat obvious. When you hear this from a purchasing agent it means,” If you want to do business with us, then you must “align” your pricing with my budget. When you have reached “my goal,” then we will have achieved a mutual compromise.”

Trade Partner- This is a new word for “subcontractor.” It has a connotation of reaching an equal status with the builder. Kind of “on the same playing field.” Call me whatever you want, but as a “partner,” how about sending one of those shareholder dividend checks my way, partner?”

Compartmentalized- How can such a long word make things smaller?

Strategic Sourcing- This is the word a purchasing agent uses when he has procured his contract awardees, more affectionately known as “low bidders.”

Core Values- This is a new one for me. I’m thinking it’s the $7.00 you get back when you take a dead car battery back to the auto parts store.

Bringing Closure 

Here’s the phrase that if I hear one more time, I may just puke all over the person who says it. Ready, “At the end of the day.” What do you mean by that? Does all the work I performed during my shift mean nothing? Why am I working 7 1/2 hours when only the stuff at the end of the day counts? I think I should just come into work about 3:45, and do my best work then, because that’s what matters, at the end of the day. 

At the end of the day, I just want the mindset to fast-track a game plan to touch base and revisit the synergy and pro-active challenges, and find a strategic fit on the freeway that cultivates a win-win scenario on getting my tired butt home. Moving forward …

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