For a while, I had stayed away from corporate coffee talks. But today's coffee talk happened to coincide with my coffee break and so there I was sitting in a star hotel listening to vision statements, road maps, development models, process improvement programs and last but not the least space planning. Hello, we are not talking about landing on mars or anything of that sort here. We have a real space crunch and our downtown office where I work; it is more like a Bombay chawl. No kidding! The last time I traveled to USA for a couple of months, I lost my own cubicle space. (I am not cribbing though)..
Anyways flash back to the ballroom coffee talk.. I saw it as an opportunity to update my self with latest version of corporate lingo. I was disappointed that the much touted "long tail" phrase did not appear even once. It seemed like there was freeze even on innovative jargon ism.
We had a prolonged Q&A session that was longer than the coffee talk itself (felt like a review exceeded the length of script of the movie itself). The culprits were the new recruits who were asking way too many silly questions to higher ups. Either they were impressing (pissing off) their immediate management or had dozed off during their mandatory induction training program. Nevertheless, I was not amused because my coffee/refreshments break (the only thing that I cared about at that moment) was getting delayed...
One quick observation, my favorite question "What is your strategy on Linux?" was missing. Open source was no longer hot enough to make it to the slide set.
Like they say an opera is incomplete without a screeching whine, here too an inevitable question popped up "What about our salary hikes?" It is not actually a question rather it is a concern/complaint from the most frustrated employee of the year/quarter. The employee (mostly he) is whining about being underpaid.
Coffee talk framework under the hood
- Still "innovative" rules the roost as key keyword in vision statements.
- Load balancing (featured 7 times) - it means many overstaying employees in this organization who have been loyal to me need to get promoted. So I am going to break the teams and create more managerial portfolios. Hey, don't look surprised! This is not my strategy at all and it was in fact pioneered by your (Indian) politicians during expansion of cabinets in coalition governments.
- Synergy (featured 5 times) - I use it as a glue word to connect two unrelated and arbitrary statements and create a more powerful compound statement. Isn't that what synergy is all about?
- Benchmark (appeared 4 times) - "must be some space management technique I guess, like marking benches" my colleague quipped.
- I lost track of much jargon. Framework, model, seamless integration were among the few that I remember. Sorry I lost count of 'em.
- In a coffee talk Q&A, acknowledge all questions as great questions. The more the merrier, the sillier the better. Always provide long winding and equally clueless answers. The assurances must be by default non-committal.
- Coffee talks have to be as predictable as possible. And they have to always be about "re-organizing to focus on core competencies through seamless integration " (fill in the blanks)