Achieve Scale

& filed under .


(1).  The mysterious art, lost since ancient times, of combining the right amount of staff and technology to efficiently and cost-effectively conduct your business.


“Team, we’re never going to achieve scale if we don’t make some sacrifices.  That’s why I’m cutting your salaries and laying off all of your assistants.  Okay, with that out of the way,  I just wanted to remind you that I’m going to be in St. Croix for the next couple of weeks on my new yacht.”


Achieving Elegance

& filed under .


(1).  Bringing multiple disciplines together to build a more comprehensive and competitive offering.  In other words, making your website slightly nicer-looking at tremendous cost.


“People, we want to focus on achieving elegance in the way we market our services.  I want at least one idea from everyone in this room on how we can do this.  Everyone except Greg.”


Props to Denise M. for the submission.



& filed under .


(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…”



& filed under .


(1).  To allegedly focus on an assigned task (or, at least, to tell your boss you’re focusing on an assigned task).


“Oh…hi, Tim…yep, we’re actioning that budget analysis right now.  That noise in the background that sounds like a bar?  No, that’s just CNBC on the TV…”


Active Listening

& filed under .


(1). The art of pinpointing the important points your client is trying to get across (unlike most of us, who just wait for them to stop talking so we can say whatever we think they want to hear).


“You’re doing a good job, Rick, but I think you need to do a little more active listening during client meetings.  We really can’t be saying ‘sounds good’ after a client tells us his wife just died…”


Add Value

& filed under .


(1).  To justify one’s involvement in a certain matter or project.


(2).  A term used in response to meeting requests in an attempt to politely suggest that you do not wish to attend.


“Thanks for including me in Friday afternoon’s meeting about the office’s new water cooler, Mike.  But, I don’t think my participation will add value.”



& filed under .


(1).  A synonym for making sure everyone is on the same page.


“This a great idea, Steve.  We should set up a conference call with Tech, though, just to make sure the commercials for this project align.”


Props to Daniella for the submission.


Anticipate Excellence

& filed under .


(1).  A term used by senior management during an internal brain-washing session (see drink the Kool-Aid) to suggest something is voluntary, when it is, in fact, mandatory.


“Team, the company volunteer program is taking place next Thursday.  While no one is required to participate, we anticipate excellence from each and every one of you.  Performance reviews will be held the following Monday.”



& filed under .


(1).  The creation of an artificial political movement by a corporation or special interest group designed to look like an actual “grass roots” movement.


“Occupy Wall Street?  That was just a clever bit of astroturfing by  Unlike the Tea Party, which is totally legit…”


Back Into A Corner

& filed under .


(1).  To take away all but one option, usually resulting in someone lashing out publicly at work (bad) or simply getting drunk after work and lashing out publicly then (worse).


“So, I feel kinda bad, but I totally backed Josh into a corner today on the Hendrickson account.  He just wouldn’t do what I wanted, so I just looped in the client and asked him again.  It worked, but I don’t think I’m getting invited to his summer barbecue anytime soon.”



& filed under .


(1).  To gradually change your opinion after receiving a negative response (see push back) from either your boss, your client or someone in Legal.


“Mike said we should price this account at fifty bips with no discounts, but now he’s backpedaling on that after the client threatened to call his golfing buddy the CEO.”


Bake Into

& filed under .


(1).  To include (but not necessarily disclose) certain information (usually fees) in a presentation or report.


“So, love the proposal, Ron.  Let me ask you a question … I’m not seeing your commission on this anywhere … am I missing something or is that already baked into these numbers?


Bang It Out

& filed under .


(1).  A hip way of saying you’re going to half-a** an assignment just to get it done.


“Don’t worry about the Siegel presentation, Jim.  I can bang it out tonight and get it to you by tomorrow morning.”


Beef Up

& filed under .


(1).  To add content to a presentation or white paper.  Usually suggested by those who believe length equals quality.


“Your proposal really lays out the plan perfectly, Don.  But I think we should try to beef up the technical portion a bit.  The boss will really enjoy wading through pages and pages of technical jargon.  I just know he will!”


Bend the Steel

& filed under .


(1).  To try really, really hard (but still fail).


“I’ve been bending the steel on this, but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to get you that purple Geo you’re looking for.”


Blocking and Tackling

& filed under .


(1).  Getting back to the basics of the job.


“Look, Joe…I think it’s really great that you are writing all of these articles lately.  But, I think you really need to focus on blocking and tackling for a while.  When was the last time you gave any of your clients a call?”


Props to Joyce G. for the submission.


Boil the Ocean

& filed under .


(1).  To try to do too much at once, usually resulting in total, abject and complete failure.


“I like where you’re going with this, Jim, but let’s not try to boil the ocean on our first pitch.  Let’s just focus on phase one of the proposal and see where it goes.”


Bolt On

& filed under .


(1).  To attempt to merge a new application with your current systems, usually resulting in a Frankenstein-looking mess that will decrease efficiency while increasing frustration.


“So, we’re going to bolt on a bill pay program to our banking platform.  It’s going to be great for our clients, but might require a bit more manual intervention by you guys while we work out the kinks.  Merry Christmas!”


Bridge The Gap

& filed under .


(1).  To advance (at least in the mind of your HR department) to the “next level” through some kind of training or seminar or some other crap.


“Jim, we’d like to send you to Binghampton, New York for a week to attend the company’s Leadership Capability Strategic Initiative training.  We think this will help you bridge the gap between your current meaningless role to the all-new meaningless role we have in mind for you.”


Bring Up To Speed

& filed under .


(1).  To update someone (usually your boss or your boss’s boss) on what’s been going on while they’ve been golfing.


“Since I’ve been off-site this past week, please bring me up to speed on what’s happened at the office.”


“I’ll feel better about it when I get up to speed on what’s going on.”


“Please bring me up to speed on this matter.”


“We’ll bring you up to speed on the day’s top stories after this commercial break!”


Props to Pablo for the submission!


Brown Bag

& filed under .


(1).  To attend a conference or seminar that encourages you to bring your own food.  You should think about getting on some better mailing lists or something, dude.


“So, I’m going to this talk about how to land clients tomorrow.  They told everyone to brown bag it, so I guess I’m bringing my lunch.  Come to think of it, they don’t seem very good at landing clients….


Burning The Midnight Oil

& filed under .


(1).  A term that can be taken in two very different ways.  On one hand, you are the rockstar employee who works late often to better the firms footprint within your industry.  On the other hand, you are that kiss-ass employee who works late often because you don’t have kids, friends, or anything worthwhile going on, which alienates your co-workers.  Work is great.


Boss – “Hey Matt, great to see that even on a Friday night you’re still here working and burning the midnight oil, thanks for all your hard work.”


Everyone Else in the Office – “Matt is such a dick.”



& filed under .


(1).  Because saying “schedule” isn’t sexy enough to bring all the boys to the yard.


“Alright Megan, how about we calendarize that pow wow for next month in Washington.  What?  We can’t say pow wow anymore?  We can’t call them the Redskins anymore?  Hmm, ok so let’s calendarize that meeting for next month in Washington.  What?  Ok ok, I’ll stop saying calendarize.  Let’s schedule that meeting next month in Washington.”


Props to DF for the submission!


Can’t Catch A Falling Sword

& filed under .


(1). A hokey, colloquial phrase intended to dissuade clients from selling out of a declining investment due to short-term market fluctuations.  Clients are often puzzled as to the phrase’s meaning, leading them to take no action, which was, of course, the speaker’s intent.


Can’t Fax A Handshake

& filed under .


(1). A term used by upper management to politely tell an employee that they don’t give their clients enough face time, and how disappointed they are with them about it.


“Well Scott, you should consider going into the city and taking the client out to lunch.  You know, you can’t fax a handshake!  Seriously though, go take them out to lunch.”


Catch Up Live

& filed under .


(1).  A suggestion made over email intended to indicate that something should not be discussed over email.


“Let’s catch up live when you have a moment to discuss the issue with the Smith account.”


Changing Behaviors

& filed under .


(1).  Something every new manager thinks they can do, when in reality they are the only ones who end up changing.


“I see part of my new role as changing behaviors around here.  From now on, everyone needs to be at their desk by 8 o’clock.  Well, not everyone…not me, anyway….”


Chase the Hot Dot

& filed under .


(1).  To always go for the trendy, new investment of the moment.  You’ve got a long road to retirement, my hipster friend.


“So, a lot of folks out there are just chasing the hot dot, you know?  We take a much more measured approach.  Well, “measured” in terms of measuring how much we can charge!  Am I right?!  So, anyway … bless me, Father, for I have sinned ….”


Circle the Wagons

& filed under .


(1).  A Western-inspired term that makes an emergency meeting between team members when an account goes into crisis mode, feel like an unfortunate run-through of Oregon Trail.  Which is pretty much every run-through of that game.


“We need to circle the wagons on the Silverstein account, it may have just died of dysentery.”


Client Onboarding

& filed under .


(1).  What they used to just call “account opening”.  It’s still just “account opening”.


“So, I reached out to our client onboarding team today to see when we should expect the account to be open.  They asked us for a few missing things, which I was hoping you could get from the client.  Let’s see: birth certificate … mother’s maiden name … and … umm … urine sample.  That should do it.  Thanks a bunch!”


Close the Loop

& filed under .


(1).  An idiom that is used when an email is sent to a group of people solely for the purpose of confirming something is complete (so you can all get off my case about it already!).


“Hi everyone – Just to close the loop on this, the wire went out today, so we should be all set.  Great job getting this done for his Royal Highness, the Prince of Nigeria, so quickly.  I can’t believe we were holding all of his money in someone else’s account all this time!”


Color Inside The Lines

& filed under .


(1).  To be careful in your work.  You, I’m looking at you.


“I don’t know what I’m going to do with Michelle.  She’s been working here for three years and still can’t seem to be able to color inside the lines on anything!  I think it may be time to find a new Michelle.”



& filed under .


(1).  To call or email someone, usually with the intent of asking for something, but rarely just to say hello (see reach out).


“Hey Bill, just wanted to connect with you about that proposal that’s due later today.  Yea the email I sent a few minutes before I called was just to make sure you got the message.”


Consider Me Swiss On This

& filed under .


(1).  A cop-out used by chronically impartial employees and/or managers so that they can remain comfortably in the middle of an argument.


“Sorry guys, but you’re going to have to consider me Swiss on this issue.  I just can’t say that investing the rest of our company’s bailout money in Spanish doubloons is a good or bad idea.  On the one hand it’s a risky investment, on the other hand that guy from Pawn Stars is always in the market for doubloons and seems to have an endless supply of cash.



& filed under .


(1).  To take expensive and time-consuming exams and classes (see credentializer) in order to add impressive-sounding letters after your name on your resume.


“You’ve got to credentialize that resume, Tom.  I mean, look at me.  I’ve got my CFP, CLU, CTFA, ChFC, AIAF and Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses.  Where did I go to college?  Well…that was a long time ago…umm…”


Cross Party Lines

& filed under .


(1).  When a Congressman votes with the opposing party, thereby generally spelling the end to his or her career.


“I crossed party lines on this issue and we got it done for the American people.  Enjoy your new federally-issued, GPS-tracking implants, America!”


Cross Training

& filed under .


(1).  A term used by companies to trick employees into doing two or more jobs for no extra pay.


(2).  A ruse companies use to give employees a sense that they are adding value to their resumes by learning a new skill when in actuality they are filling in for an employee who just quit until a replacement can be found.


“Hey Pat, now that Justin is gone we think it would be a great time for you be sit in on some cross-training sessions for paid search. The more you learn the better, right?”


Cry Wolf

& filed under .


(1).  To habitually create a crisis where none truly exists.


“What?  Lou said we have a huge accounting error in our quarterly earnings report?  I’m sure it’s fine.  Lou just likes to cry wolf to bring attention to himself.”


Cut the Cord

& filed under .


(1).  To split from a long-standing relationship (like, with a mentor or some other guy you’ve been cowering behind since you got here).


“Hey, Steve, got a minute?  Wanted to talk to you about possibly taking over some accounts on your own.  You and Gary make a great team, but I think you’re ready to spread your wings a bit.  Got to cut the cord at some point, right?”



& filed under .


(1).  In most industries, an acronym for “cover your ass”.  The term is most often used when describing an email or voicemail sent to your boss about some problem before anyone else beats you to it (see post).


“You should send Tim an email about this right now, Joe.  Just as a CYA.  Better he hear it from you before anyone else…”


(2).  In accounting, an acronym for “call your accountant”.  The term is usually used after receiving some kind of letter from the IRS.


“I would CYA on this, Ken.  It says you haven’t filed a return since 1987.  I know you’re backing Ron Paul for president, but…”


Die on the Vine

& filed under .


(1).  When a project that you really want approved just kind of finds itself left off of the budget committee agenda over and over again until it is eventually forgotten altogether.


“I don’t understand it…it wasn’t a huge spend.  I guess it just kind of died on vine…”


Discuss Live

& filed under .


(1).  A suggestion made over email intended to indicate that something should not be discussed over email.


“Paul – We discovered an eency, weency, little SEC-type issue with those short sales you entered yesterday.  Let’s discuss live when you have a minute.  Thx.”


Don’t Let the Tax Tail Wag the Investment Dog

& filed under .


(1).  In finance, an expression used in client meetings to (1) dissuade a client from making or avoiding investment changes purely to avoid (or incur) capital gains taxes, and (2) allow the speaker to show the client how witty he is, while throughly enjoying the sound of his own voice.


“Well, you know what they say, “don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog“.  Am I right or am I right?  This guy knows what I’m talking about!”