Do You Speak My Language?


There was a time when some corporate executives in any organisation would manage to get by in their jobs year after year and get promotions too, all with very little effort or real work being done. They had perfected an art called LBDN: Look Busy Do Nothing. Cluttered desks, sleeves rolled up and tie loosened, long telephonic discussions presumably with clients and so on. A behaviour repertoire carried out with precision and great conviction worked wonders and while the nerds in the office, poor souls, slogged silently to ensure year-end profitability, the yuppie executives stole the limelight and caught the management’s eye.

Not so any more though. Structuring of executive functions and HR practices has meant that those who do not genuinely deliver are soon caught out. So if everyone in the organisation has to deliver, how to stand out and be recognized? Well, you just need to speak the right language! Corptalk.

Corptalk is a language that no ambitious executive can afford not to learn. Know it well and you are soon considered an authority on almost anything. Your peers look up to you and the management regards you as very promising and the one to watch. Clients are equally impressed and all in all it is almost as if you are back to the good old Look Busy Do Nothing days!

So what exactly is Corptalk? Well, to give you an idea, here is a conversation between a blue-eyed executive, a Corptalk expert – let us call him John – and Aesop, a fresh business graduate who has just joined the company. The company has assigned Aesop to work under John and John wants Aesop to know who the boss is from the very start. So he goes into Corptalk to impress the pants off him. Now something that may have worked well with a client just doesn’t cut ice with Aesop, as he is not at all familiar with Corptalk. And as the conversation progresses he gets increasingly confused and yes, scared! So here is how the conversation goes:

John (after explaining a point to Aesop in doublespeak): I hope you are getting the joke.

Aesop: I am not sure. I didn’t know you were joking.

John: Hey, it seems we are not on the same page.

Aesop: Which page? Which book?

John: Come on man, do you not know where I’m coming from?

Aesop: Yes, I do. I remember. You come from this very city, don’t you?

John: No, no! I mean yes, I am from this city but that is not what I was talking about.

Aesop: Sir, I think I am confused now.

John: Okay, no issue. Let me bring you up to speed.

Aesop: I don’t do drugs.

John: Drugs? Who said anything about drugs?
Aesop: You did.

John: Okay. Forget that A-SAP.

Aesop: It’s Aesop, like in Aesop’s Fables and not A-Sap

John: What? You are really not with it, are you? Will I have to go the full nine yards?

Aesop: I am sorry, are you going somewhere?

John: For crying out loud. I think we need to take some baby steps here.

Aesop: John I am feeling really lost here. Where did the baby come in and why is the baby crying out loud?

John: Because, you moron, you are just not synergizing.

Aesop: What do you want me to do?

John: Leverage this opportunity man, that’s the bottom-line. Like, let’s decide the action items, follow the 80/20 rule, derive maximum mileage 24/7 and get results fast. Like yesterday.

Aesop: I think you don’t like me. This is my first day here, so to start with I don’t know anything about yesterday. I don’t think it is fair to ask me about yesterday.

John: Okay, forget it. Let’s re-visit the drawing board.

Aesop: Yes, let’s do that. Where is the drawing board?

John (takes a deep breath): You have lost the plot haven’t you? Never mind. Do you know how to make a cup of coffee?

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