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:
- leverage our core competencies
We leverage our core competencies to offer a wide array of IT services.
- holistically administrate
There is much, much more to social media than just creating an account.[…] 5) Consistently and holistically administrate your pages. https://www.facebook.com/belvadigital/posts/499594463436360
- exceptional synergy
Since the Revolution [in Iran], an exceptional synergy has arisen between the domain of religion and the health sector in the development of family planning policies
- advance our market share
The Council comprises senior professionals across the Bank who work together to advance our market share, better connect our people, execute our global goals in local markets and expand our client businesses.
- enhancing corporate synergy
Developing more vehicle technologies and enhancing corporate synergy were among the topics discussed this week by Toyota Motor Corp., president Akio Toyoda and the automaker’s other top executives who gathered for the annual national dealer meeting.
- promoting viability
The network will generate low cost environmental data, essential for determining MPA success in preserving ecological diversity, promoting viability of marine communities, and managing the integrity of target flagship species.
- capitalized reputation recent highly publicized corporate flameouts, according to Greenspan, show “the vulnerability of a firm whose market value largely rests on capitalized reputation”
- bleeding-edge and next-generation
You will be joining a rapidly growing start up technology company that is developing solutions in bleeding edge and next generation technologies.
For two of them I had to break the phrase up, but still justify as real-world examples:
- efficiently operationalize our strategies
- “efficiently operationalize”
Most enterprises today find it extremely difficult to efficiently operationalize data for many reasons. http://www.ayasdi.com/blog/bigdata/the-rise-of-the-brilliant-enterprise -“operationalize our strategies”
Works effectively with stakeholders in the organization to operationalize our strategies/mission and our business plan, and capitalize on opportunities to enhance our client and customer experience, and overall efficiency https://www.homewoodhumansolutions.com/(S(bhskw3xchvlzf0reeysplvwk))/about/Job.aspx?job=593&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
- providing our supply chain with diversity
- “…providing our supply chain with…”
By adopting the Builder’s Profile, Morgan Sindall is providing our supply chain with the opportunity to have a single prequalification assessment profile that can also be made available to other main contractors.
http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/builders-profile-confirmed-as-morgan-sindalls-supply-chain-partner -“supply chain diversity”
ISM Supply Chain Diversity Summit — ISM is committed to supporting diverse professionals in the supply chain. Join us for learning and networking that improves your business acumen, builds your personal brand and leverages unique skills.
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
(a tautology that looks like the most common of Weird Al’s clichés out there)
- resources in the marketplace
- services and deliverables
- world-class technology
- robust and scalable
- bringing to the table
- seamless integration
- best of breed
[I added negative keyword -dog]
- strong commitment to quality
- gaining traction
- client-centric solutions
(not so out-of-the-box as you want to think…)
- a value-added experience
- proven methodology
- monetize our assets
- cross-platform innovation
- grow the business infrastructure
- transitioning our company
- fundamentals of change
- awareness of functionality
- management’s philosophy
(apparently not that common to find management with it)
- achieving globalization
- proactively overseeing
(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!
- “set a brand trajectory”
- “distill our identity”
- “stay incentivized”
- “foster flexible solutions”
Watch/listen to “Weird Al” Yankovic — Mission Statement on Youtube: http://youtu.be/GyV_UG60dD4?list=UUshnCkfV7U6DqR4IHbQbI7Q
A ranticle by @georgebaily