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Coffee solutions and other management speak

cartoon van Marijke van Veldhoven

I saw a company car on which it said: 'Coffee solutions'. Is coffee a problem? I tried to imagine what kind of problem. Black muck that jam up coffee machines? People drinking too much coffee because the taste is too good? En linger around the coffee maker perhaps?

The advance of 'management speak' expands to the most ordinary things. Lucy Kellaway collects these pearls from the genre for her columns in the Financial Times. She noted that Harold Schulz, then CEO of Starbucks, wanted to give the customer 'a coffee experience that will submerge him in ultra top quality'. A matter of taste perhaps?

Something like a bottle of Nestlé becomes an 'affordable, portable lifestyle drink'. And your bank contact suddenly talks to you about 'your lease park' when they mean the company cars.

Transparent in stead of clear

What are you doing at the moment? Difficult to explain? Take a metaphor. Especially the sports metaphor is quite catchy. Sports is experiencing! That way working becomes a game. But what is the playing grounds? An interesting adversary sounds more challenging than a threatening competitor. No worries: you'll win if you can shift up a gear. Follow your passion...

Keeping up such a metaphor is an art. Lucy Kellaway found this: 'the milestones in these swimming lanes offer us a map for this flowchart. If we encounter toll booths we will determine where you are in the waterfall.' That could easily be replaced with: 'We are focused for 100% on a positive, future-oriented efforts to facilitate change.'

Pfff, I think I've deserved a cup of Joe. Luckily I'm more viable with drawing.

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