The PM guide to management speak

29 February 2012 -


Been nudged lately? Or perhaps you’re preponing that blamestorming session. What on earth does it all mean?

B is for…

Black-sky thinking

1. Considering or planning for the worst case scenario. Essentially the evil twin of “blue-sky thinking”, this phrase has been used in the financial press to describe the bleakest of economic forecasts. 

However, some see it differently, using it to describe ideas so powerful that they can’t be contained by the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Let’s start the fight against doom and gloom here. Blast off!


1. The act of deciding who or what is to blame for a failure.

2. A meeting held to investigate the cause of a problem or project failure. Sure, you might be told it’s a “postmortem” when you get the emailed invite, but why not study the last series of The Apprentice for boardroom survival tips just in case? This will make sure it’s not you that ends up on the slab.

C is for…


1. The point at which a crisis provides a unique window of opportunity. The term gained has currency during the economic slump.

2. An episode of The Simpsons, in which Lisa mistakenly informs her father Homer that the Chinese words for “crisis” and “opportunity” are the same.

N is for…


1. If you suddenly find yourself drinking complimentary water from a conveniently placed office cooler instead of grabbing a caffeinated drink on your way in, you may have been “nudged”.

2. Nudging is the latest buzzword to leap from academia into our daily lives; it refers to the way in which people can be gently persuaded to make healthier, wiser, or more socially useful choices by placing easy-to-reach enablers or hints in our path.

3. Even the government is getting in on the “gentle guidance” act via its Behavioural Insight Team. Consider yourself warned.

P is for…


1. To bring forward a planned event.

2. Believed to have originated among English speakers in India in informal use, it has now found its way into mainstream writing and even newspaper headlines.

3. It is simply the opposite of postpone, and it is rapidly gaining a following among those impatient souls looking to speed up meetings, deadlines and other targets, and generally jump queues. For those with packed schedules, it could be the time-management equivalent of gazumping – potentially upsetting the best-laid work diaries. The resistance starts here; lock up your Outlook calendars!

T is for…


1. The act of committing libel (a form of defamation) via a Twitter post.

2. A libelous tweet.

3. While at the time of writing no Twibel case has gone in front of a jury, they have left the likes of rock icon Courtney Love and a Welsh politician badly out of pocket. Ready to retweet? Think carefully, you could be held legally responsible for a twibel along with the author. If you are tweeting on behalf of an employer, it could also be brought into an action. When choosing your 140 characters, mind your language.

For more Management Speak tips, see the CMI guide to using managerial jargon

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