“Mission Statement” — Who the hell talks like that? — Lots of people, actually.

Sorting out the business-speak clichés parodied in Weird Al Yankovic’s “Mission Statement” song


Weird Al Yankovic’s song “Mission Statement” enjoyably parodies meaningless business-spracht, but as I listened, I wondered how much is caricature or exaggeration, and how much is real?

A lot of young people, as yet virgins to the intellectual-anal-rape that is office cubicle life, may be wondering the same thing, so I went searching for examples…

To start, I picked out ten phrases from the song’s lyrics which I thought were particularly exaggerated and unlikely to be found in actual business parlance…

Of course, I was actually able to find unironic real-world examples of all of them:

Nonsense mashup phrases which turn out to have plenty of actual examples:

For two of them I had to break the phrase up, but still justify as real-world examples:

Next I took the rest of the clichéd phrases from Weird Al’s song and ranked them by rough frequency of occurrence based on total number of matches found for the phrase in the google index.

The following were searched in google.co.uk counting total results for the exact phrase with negative keywords -”weird al” and -yankovic and -”mission statement”

Top-ranked clichés identified by Weird Al’s Mission Statement:

  • day-to-day operations
    120,000,000 results
    (a tautology that looks like the most common of Weird Al’s clichés out there)
  • resources in the marketplace
    12,500,000 results
  • mission-critical
    11,700,000 result
  • services and deliverables
    8,030,000 results
  • world-class technology
    7,100,000 results
  • robust and scalable
    5,590,000 results
  • bringing to the table
    4,720,000 results
  • seamless integration
    4,540,000 results
  • best of breed
    [I added negative keyword -dog]
    4,150,000 results
  • strong commitment to quality
    1,800,000 results
  • gaining traction
    1,440,000 results
  • client-centric solutions
    1,010,000 results
    (not so out-of-the-box as you want to think…)
  • a value-added experience
    418,000 results
  • proven methodology
    362,000 results
  • monetize our assets
    291,000 results
  • cross-platform innovation
    201,000 results
  • grow the business infrastructure
    122,000 results
  • transitioning our company
    65,700 results
  • fundamentals of change
    42,800 results
  • awareness of functionality
    28,600 results
  • management’s philosophy
    18,700 results
    (apparently not that common to find management with it)
  • achieving globalization
    3,890 results
  • proactively overseeing
    3,740 results
    (management types obviously don’t talk so much about something that might imply they have to work harder)

Some of these frequencies might give us a hint about the priorities of the pointy-haired people who roll this garbage off their tongues all day?

Rare or not-found nonsense business speak

Office trolls, here are the phrases which I couldn’t find real-world examples of, start using them now!

  1. “set a brand trajectory”
  2. “distill our identity”
  3. “stay incentivized”
  4. “foster flexible solutions”

Watch/listen to “Weird Al” Yankovic — Mission Statement on Youtube: http://youtu.be/GyV_UG60dD4?list=UUshnCkfV7U6DqR4IHbQbI7Q

A ranticle by @georgebaily