Saturday, January 10, 2009

Corporate gibberish

My company is composed of sectors. Currently, the company has seven sectors, but is consolidating into five sectors. Corporations really only know two tricks: consolidation and fragmentation. Neither trick makes much difference, but change is exciting and careers can be advanced by leading the change. One president gets a bonus for consolidating sectors in the interest of efficiency and responsiveness to the customer. After a few years, when the consolidation proves to a disappointment, the next president will get a bonus for reversing course and breaking the organization into more sectors, again in the interest of efficiency and responsiveness to the customer. Join together, pull apart, join together, pull apart -- and so it goes.

My own sector will be combined with another sector. Strangers will be declared comrades, redundant management jobs will be eliminated, new stationary will be ordered. My sector's vice president, despite taking the helm less than a year ago to great fanfare, evidently lost the coin flip. His retirement has been announced. The victorious vice president from the other sector, a cheerful-looking lady in her late 50s, will soon take charge.

This new vice president sent a greeting memo to us, her new workers. The greeting is written in corporate English, a lingo of the boardroom that somehow manages to be both stilted and perky.

"Dear Colleagues, [more graceful than, say, Dear Subordinates]

The creation of our combined sector is an extraordinary opportunity to leverage our significant strengths and synergies [The modern heptathlon record for a leveraged synergy is 77.4 meters.], creating a more competitive business with so many exciting opportunities taking us into the future -- ones that we individually might not have been able to even imagine. I am excited to be leading this powerful, vibrant business [Vibrant? Given the grave economic conditions and the uncertainty of the government procurements with the new Obama administration, the thousands of anxious nerds that compose this new sector are atremble with fear and dread. Perhaps the word she sought was "vibrating."] and can see so much potential for us in our information technology markets. With my years with the parent sectors, I have a first-hand appreciation for the talent, skills and dedication of our employees, our technologies and our competitive differentiators. [Some of us differentiate, some of us integrate. I'm fairly competitive, and hope to get a letter sweater when I join the varsity.] I have been, and continue to be, impressed with the individual achievements of both our parent sectors....

"To quickly achieve synergies [What! Synergies again?], we have established a transition team to expedite the process of integrating these two vibrant sectors [with their vibrating workers] together seamlessly and cohesively. Our goal is minimal disruption to our business areas and to make this transition as smooth as possible for you, our customers, suppliers and others [except, of course, the vice president you beat out for the job]...."

Never a dull moment in the technology biz.