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What managers say - and what they really mean

Management Speak: That's very interesting.
Translation: I disagree.

Management Speak: "I don't disagree."
Translation: "I disagree."

Management Speak: I don't totally disagree with you.
Translation: You may be right, but I don't care.

Management Speak: You have to show some flexibility.
Translation: You have to do it whether you want to or not.

Management Speak: We have an opportunity.
Translation: You have a problem.

Management Speak: You obviously put a lot of work into this.
Translation: This is awful.

Management Speak: In a perfect world.
Translation: Just get it working and get it out the door.

Management Speak: Help me to understand.
Translation: I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't think you do either.

Management Speak: You just don't understand our business.
Translation: We don't understand our business.

Management Speak: You need to see the big picture.
Translation: My boss thinks it's a good idea.

Management Speak: My mind is made up. I am adamant on the subject. There is no room for discussion. But if you do want to discuss it further, my door is always open.
Translation: &%^$ you.

Management Speak: I appreciate your contribution.
Translation: But forget it.

Management Speak: We're going to follow a strict methodology here.
Translation: We're going to do it my way.

Management Speak: I didn't understand the e-mail you said you sent. Can you give me a quick summary?
Translation: I still can't figure out how to start the e-mail program.

Management Speak: Cost of ownership has become a significant issue in desktop computing.
Translation: We want all of the benefits and none of the costs.

Management Speak: We have to leverage our resources.
Translation: You're working weekends.

Management Speak: Individual contributor.
Translation: Employee who does real work.

Management Speak: Your project is on hold.
Translation: We've put a bullet in it.

Management Speak: Wrong answer.
Translation: You didn't tell me what I wanted to hear.

Management Speak: You needed to be more proactive.
Translation: You should have protected me from myself.

Management Speak: I'd like your buy-in on this.
Translation: I want someone else to blame when this thing bombs.

Management Speak: We want you to be the executive champion of this project.
Translation: I want to be able to blame you for my mistakes.

Management Speak: We need to syndicate this decision.
Translation: We need to spread the blame if it backfires.

Management Speak: We have to put on our marketing hats.
Translation: We have to put ethics aside.

Management Speak: It's not possible. It's impractical. It won't work.
Translation: I don't know how to do it.

Management Speak: It's a no-brainer.
Translation: It's a perfect decision for me to handle.

Management Speak: I'm glad you asked me that.
Translation: Public relations has written a carefully phrased answer.

Management Speak: I see you involved your peers in developing your proposal.
Translation: One person couldn't possibly come up with something this stupid.

Management Speak: There are larger issues at stake.
Translation: I've made up my mind so don't bother me with the facts.

Management Speak: I'll never lie to you.
Translation: The truth will change frequently.

Management Speak: Our business is going through a paradigm shift.
Translation: We have no idea what we've been doing, but in the future we shall do something completely different.

Management Speak: Value-added.
Translation: Expensive.

Management Speak: The upcoming reductions will benefit the vast majority of employees.
Translation: The upcoming reductions will benefit me.