Daily Podcast: Euthanizing Euphemisms

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast euthanizing euphemisms

Henry Ford: "You don't build a reputation on what you're going to do." GM CEO Rick Wagoner: "Our team continues to develop further action plans to optimize our operating structure under these new market conditions, improve our cash and funding position, and keep our key product and technology investments on track." I know that many of our Best and Brightest are cubicle-dwellers; workers well-versed in the kind of euphemisms used by managers to obfuscate– I mean "hide" inactivity and incompetence. (My personal pet peeve is verbizing perfectly good nouns, as in "let's action that plan.") Just so we're all on the same page, I'm saying that a great leader does NOT resort to doublespeak and big words when the chips are down. Winston Churchill didn't say "I pledge to maximize my personal contribution to right-sizing the National Socialist Government by exanguination and perspicacity." He said ""I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." If Rick Wagoner really wanted to save GM– and not his own ass– he would start by speaking plain English. As if.

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  • JJ JJ on Jul 09, 2008

    The C4 is actually Citroen's Civic competitor. The C3 is below that, more like a Honda Fit/Opel Corsa/VW Polo/Renault Clio/Peugeot 207 competitor. Obviously it gets rather confusing because of all the different variants every brand makes these days. The C2 is the 3(2)-door version of the C3 and then there is the C1, a really small car that they developed together with Toyota and is also sold as Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107. The C4 itself has 2(!) Picasso versions of it's own, a 5 seater and 7 seater version, that have slightly different styling and the 7 seater is longer. And then...(yawn) there still is the Berlingo, which is passenger version of a small van (called monospace) that has about the same functionality as a 5 seater C4, but is uglier and probably slightly cheaper. So, if this C3 Picasso gets the green light Citroen will have about 4 cars that basically do the same thing.

  • Carguy Carguy on Jul 09, 2008

    I hate to be the history nerd here but I wouldn't hold up Winston as the poster child of good management. While he is mainly known for recognizing the Nazi threat in the '30s and convincing the US to enter the war, his pre WWII career was anything but exemplary. Highlights include his forced resignation as lord of the admiralty after his lack of judgment led to the disastrous WWI battle of Gallipoli and his earlier domestic policy stroke of genius as home secretary when he suggested that troops should open fire on striking coal miners in 1910-11. But at least he didn't use office double-talk.

  • Shiney Shiney on Jul 09, 2008

    Once upon a time, MBAs were a boon to corporate America, bringing order and control to poorly documented and inefficient accounting, inventory and management systems. Today, an MBA has become become a virtual requirement to move into American management, and the generically trained MBAs that bear them have become blood clots in the corporate arteries. No decision is to small to require a meeting, no amount of experience, judgment or common sense can be allowed to override whatever the decision matrix of the month says. When all you are trained in is statistical management, the answer to every problem is a new management tool - the physical manifestations of the euphemisms you so aptly ridicule. Given that some MBAs are insightful and invaluable managers, I wanted to find a word to describe the specific type of MBA that is the issue, the Rick Wagoner type that wallows in self pity and uses statistics, indecision matrixes and PR fluff to dilute responsibility and justify why they should be paid exorbitant amounts while the companies they are supposed to manage lurch from one crisis to another. The term I'm currently using is Bovine MBAs - for their unique ability to sit through a six hour meeting without showing the slightest signs of boredom or original thought.

  • Cueb3 Cueb3 on Jul 09, 2008

    We work 24-7 to bring you World Class Products designed and built by a dedicated team of automotive experts. Over the past several months, we have shifted our paradigms to include some uncontrollable factors that may be ailing the overall marketplace. We do have exciting new products featuring breakthrough technologies waiting in the wings. We expect these technologies to result in automobiles that will lead the marketplace into the 22nd century. In the meantime, we ask our shareholders, employees and creditors to continue their support and confidence in our broader and clearer vision that will sustain the magnificent heritage initiated by Sir William Crapo Durant, over 100 years ago.