Merry Christmas To All, And A Buzzword-Free New Year!

‘Twas the week before Christmas and enterprise-wide/Not a creature was stirring, our bandwidth was fried/We’d been synergized, leveraged, geographically dispersed/Right-sized, incentivized, and engineered in reverse… Click through for more of our C-suite twist on “The Night Before Christmas”–and a holiday plea for a jargon-free workplace.


The Webcast Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas and enterprise-wide,

Not a creature was stirring, our bandwidth was fried.


We’d been synergized, leveraged, geographically dispersed,

Right-sized, incentivized, and engineered in reverse.

Drilled down and sea changed and paradigm shifted,


Dialogued and matrixed and pinged and uplifted.

Our deliverables were executed by the chimney with care,

Soon our new CEO would be virtually there.


We tidied our think space and face-timed some Teds,

While visions of best practices danced in our heads.

When out in the office their arose such a clatter,


We sprang to our feet to see what was the matter.

Away to our laptops we flew super-fast,

Clicked open Windows and fired up the Webcast.


When what to our wondering eyes should we see?

But our new CEO in 1080p.

He was tiny and pallid, a wheezy old elf,


And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

It was the first time we’d seen him, we were all underwhelmed.

This is the one who is taking the helm?


He was nobody’s vision of a cutting-edge leader,

No game-changer, deep diver, or best of the breeder. 

His eyes how they watered, his countenance austere,


His droll little mouth was drawn up in a sneer.

But with a wink of an eye and a twist of his hand

He told us immediately of his master plan.


He looked in to the camera and made clear his bargain

“I am purging this company of all business jargon!

From now on plain English is the language we’ll speak,


Doubletalk and jargon are a sign of the weak.”

More rapid than eagles his censures they came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name;


“Out Scalable! Out Granular! Out Actionable and Robust!

No Drill-down! No Value-add! No Strategic thrust!

From every single email! To every conference call!

Now go away! Go Away! Go away all!”

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

His image faded as the Webinar closed.

And we heard him exclaim as we watched him disappear,

“Merry Christmas to all, and a buzzword-free new year!”

Author Craig Chappelow, who specializes in 360-degree feedback and the development of effective senior executive teams, is a portfolio manager at the Center for Creative Leadership (, a top-ranked, global provider of leadership education and research.

[Image: Flickr user kellan]


About the author

Craig Chappelow, a senior faculty member at the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership, is a leading authority in the development and use of leadership assessment products. He has worked for two decades with senior executives in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America


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