Monday, May 30, 2011

How to leverage leverage

Oh sweet leverage. Is there a more insidious word in business today? Leverage is the crack cocaine of corporate speak. Once you've done it once, it's devilish difficult to stop. Everyone's a user, but nobody talks about it.

Leveraging used to be almost clandestine. Consultants huddled round the dim glow of a laptop in a windowless room would leverage themselves into a frenzy over their Powerpoint slides. In the cold light of day, they'd wander sunken-eyed into other corporations making do with 'use' until they could get their hands on some more leverage.

Then, it went mainstream. It's unclear whether consultants deliberately began supplying, or whether others stumbled on it. Either way it spread rapidly, a rampant addiction tearing through the business world.

Now it's so widely used, offices barely raise an eyebrow when a colleague leverages. People regularly, almost casually leverage. There are some who leverage without even knowing what they're doing. Young, first-jobbers will be leveraging within a week, sometimes before going forward, or synergising.

Despite the now common prevalence of leverage, some analysts believe it hasn't yet reached its full potential, that leverage can be further leveraged.

Slighted lovers may feel leveraged rather than used. Frequent users of leverage could become known as leveragers or leveragists and new employees could be made to go through a leveragising process.

It could become a collective noun for consultants or businessmen. A leverage of businessmen descended on the conference and leveraged their political leverage to impact the operational efficiencies of the catering department. Or perhaps, just ordered some more cake.

Leverage should be used, over-used, repeated and abused until all addicts become desensitized to its heady effects, until their tolerance is such that leverage has no power over them.

Only then will it disappear, back into the dismal hole where it belongs.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is impact impacting your impact?

The impact of changes to the use of impact has been profound on KillGobbledy.

Tears have been shed, teeth have been gnashed.

It was a beautiful word. Powerful, almost onomatopoeic. The 'im's low slow build to the crescendo of 'pact', packs a certain punch.

A great word
There it was sitting quite happily for years. As a noun it was content.

It was proud to be associated with great people, great deeds, great ideas and moments that had an impact on the world. It stood alongside the best and worst of humanity, a word of force attached to greatness.

It was comfortable describing collisions or impingement. It even had some fun with our wisdom teeth where it came to mean, 'ouch' and 'how much'?

The slippery slope
Occasionally, in the pursuit of action, it dabbled in the world of verbs. Building on noun foundations (noundations?), it drove or pressed closely or firmly into something.

Sadly, it never reached the heady, breathless language of romance. How much richer our love stories could have been. 'Darling, may I impact you?For tomorrow I may die'.

And then, the theft occurred. This noble word was stolen, ripped from our lexicon, battered and shoved into every meaningless Powerpoint slide that's ever been vomited onto a screen.

Sales were having an impact on revenues, revenues on synergies, synergies on bottom lines and bottom lines on top-lines. Suddenly impact was losing its impact and becoming just another piece of static in the white noise of corporate drivel.

Worse was to come.

It became transitive, then intransitive and the fall from grace was complete.  Now anyone or anything can impact anyone or anything and impact has lost its impact.

An innocent word corrupted by a cruel world.

Can it recover? Or has the overuse of impact impacted on impact irrevocably.