My wife forwarded an e-mail to me yesterday with some "New Words for 2005--Essential vocabulary additions for the workplace (and elsewhere)." The list included 19 terms reflecting both workplace and societal phenomena. Here are my six "unfortunate" but funny favorites with relevance to innovation:
- BLAMESTORMING—Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
- SEAGULL MANAGER—A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.
- ASSMOSIS—The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
- SALMON DAY—The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
- ADMINISPHERE—The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
- 404—Someone who is clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested site could not be located.
So do you remember what your elementary school teacher would say whenever you learned a new word? Use it in a sentence! So here you go:
Seagull managers live as 404s in the adminisphere, encouraging blamestorming and engaging in assmosis, while creating salmon days for their subordinates.
All of these terms are sad but true reflections of what's actually going on in today's organizations. What do you do to defeat these ways of thinking and acting? Have you coined your own terms to describe similar things you've experienced in your organization? Please share your thoughts and add to our vocabulary list!