Five Obfuscating Business Verbs
I’ve just learned five new business verbs: onboard, level-set, operationalize, descope, and action-plan.
One meaning of to onboard is “to train new employees.” The expression is so common that many professional sites actually use the labels Onboard and Onboarding in their menus to direct new employees to relevant information.
Most of the time, the expression seems to refer to employee training, but it is also used with the meaning “to recruit supporters.” Here are some examples:
The Top 5 Must Do’s to Effectively Onboard Your New Employees
Our organisations need us to onboard new hires efficiently, and in the shortest time frame possible.
How to acquire and onboard new supporters using online channels.
How does your organization onboard new donors?
As a business term, to level-set means to make sure that people who will be working together all have the same information about the work. Here are some examples:
Once your team has been established and practices are under way, you need to level set your team accurately.
Your entire team needs to be at a certain level of capability, and the Aurora illumine packages let you level-set your team.
So this is the time to use the review process to level-set your employees on the current environment.
The verb to operationalize seems to mean “to do,” or “to put into practice.” Here are examples:
In general, the more abstract the idea, the harder it is to operationalize.
[The speaker] will be presenting a webinar on “Tools to Operationalize the New Dining Practice Standards.”
When it comes to China, we seek to operationalize a new model of major power relations.
The term to descope means “to modify or abandon a project in order to save money.” In the last example below, the meaning seems to be “demolished.” (Descope is also used as a noun.) Here are examples:
As a mission enters the planning and construction phase, it often becomes clear that the initial estimates were optimistic and the cost cap constraint will bind. In this case, the IC may…descope the mission by reducing the mission’s goals.
Ka and S-bands were under consideration for descope last year, but we now plan to proceed with their full production.
The wooden structures on the airfield are being descoped to make way for more efficient structures.
The verb to action-plan seems to have the same meaning as plain old to plan, but it’s more mouth filling. Here’s a definition of plan:
plan (verb): to arrange in advance; to set down the details of how to proceed with a project.
Here are examples of action plan used as a verb:
If a decision is made by the mentoring team that a student is failing, the next step is to action plan the elements of the student’s practice that require attention.
Use constructive feedback to action plan the transfer of skills and knowledge acquired into the workplace
Students are asked to action plan a campaign on an issue of their choice.
If your intention is to impress your listeners or to obfuscate your meaning, these five words are excellent choices. If your purpose is to be understood, you may wish to consider some simpler alternatives.
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