(1). To prioritize (and possibly even work on) a task (see action item). The term is usually used when reassuring your boss that whatever they’re talking about is at the top of your list of things to do.
“Sure, boss, I’ll action that mail merge project for first thing in the morning. Right after I figure out how to do a mail merge…”
(1). In HR, this is a term used to describe how to deal with change in the workplace. For example, if you place a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, if you place it in cold water and gradually heat it, it might stay. Pretty roundabout way to say “grow a pair and deal with it” but it’s ok, we’re into hand-holding, miss.
“Well Jon it sounds to me like you have a little bit of boiling frog syndrome. Here’s how I see things: you were once the manager of business development. Over the past year you gradually didn’t sell anything, and now you have become the manager of our telephone service, office supplies & bagel Friday’s. You have a great new desk right up in front of the office, and get to talk to everyone who comes through the door, whether it be new people coming in for interviews, food delivery folk or the FedEX guy. The way I see it, it’s a win win for everyone! That guy? Oh he’s here for the new business development manager position, can you send him to my office?”