Lucy Kellaway: A vintage year for the Management Guff Awards

(Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011) See here for full article >>>

Category: Daft new names for common nouns
Toyota, which has rebranded the car as a “sustainable mobility solution”, scoops the gold.
Ian Freed, vice-president of Amazon Kindle, gets a silver medal for renaming books “reading containers”, but Toyota, which has rebranded the car as a “sustainable mobility solution”, scoops the gold.

Category: best combination of weasel words
Royal Dutch Shell recently declared that it was “in a delivery window for new growth”

Category: Golden Fig Leaf for euphemisms
Stockbroker JM Finn explained to customers that it was charging more: “We have decided to further progress a fee element.”
“We invested in several key talent additions.”

Category: mixed metaphor award
The UK Corporate Governance Code contains a heroic quadruple mixed metaphor: “a turning point in attacking the fungus of ‘boiler-plate’”

Category: nouns pretending to be verbs
Ernst & Young's phrase “the up-skilling of the workforce” wins the prize for most annoying use of “up”, it also wins the nerb award, handed out for nouns pretending to be verbs. The gerund “skilling” introduces us to the new and unneeded verb: to skill.

Category: silliest job title
Frost & Sullivan for its client value enhancement executive, and the “major international bank” that advertised for a customer journey re-engineering manager. But the prize goes to Andy Roach of FBM consulting, who calls himself a “prosultant”.

Category: golden flannel award for talking utter jibberish
Investor Chuck Davies who was quoted in the FT as saying: “He is a deep-dive, granular, research-oriented person who really understands the inner workings of companies and is just a very free-cash flow, hard-asset-based investor.”

Category: global guff award
The People’s Republic of China has taken a great leap forward in guff. In a yellow box at the bottom of its new Five Year Plan it declares: “Facing the future we are standing at a new historic starting point.”

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