Friday, October 17, 2008

A call for better sports-related metaphors

I don't like sports metaphors in office environments. I just don't. They're tacky and unimaginative and played out. And honestly, I don't need to be seeing an out of shape cubicle jockey in pleated khakis talking about getting slam dunks or hitting home runs.

But, if I'm honest with myself, it's hard to see sports metaphors ever just disappearing from office life. I guess that need for drab imagery that has no potential to offend anyone is just too important. So, I'm starting a campaign for newer, better sports metaphors. Once upon a time, slam dunks, covering bases, hitting things out of the park, taking a page out of someone's playbook, and so on must have sounded new and fresh. Well, they don't anymore. So here, courtesy of fruithoopz, is the new fresh shit. Practice and recite in your office -- I promise you will cover up your incompetence and get promotions from people excited about . . . well, they're not sure about what, but it sounds like something that can be compared to sports, so they're for it. Anyways, feel free to add your own in the comments.

Open Field Tackle: This is a phrase for when you identify and address a problem before it is able to cause much damage. For instance, you just sent a mail advertisement off to the printers and then you realize that there is a glaring typo in large font. So you call up the printers before the ad has begun printing, and you get the typo fixed in time. You made an open field tackle.


Jab Step: If your organization isn't quite convinced that a particular direction is correct, they might have some customer focus groups or something to get an idea of how people will respond. In basketball, from the triple-threat, you can make a jab step and see how your defender will respond, thus setting him up for the next move you make.

Turnaround Bank Shot: Not as flashy as a slam dunk, but fundamentally the right move. If, in a morning staff meeting, someone suggests, "hey, how about we give out loans to people who couldn't possibly repay them, and then turn around and sell that debt to unregulated shadow institutions?" You might respond: "No, let's minimize our exposure to bad debt and keep our cash payout reserves at the accepted levels to be FDIC insured." You've just made a turnaround bank shot.


Stolen Base: You've only done enough work to begin a project, but suddenly get yourself into scoring position when no one's looking. For instance, you say "hey Rosie, I'm kind of swamped, can you do these reports for me this week?" She then goes ahead and does the reports, but when she gets up to go to the bathroom, you pick them up and drop them off at your boss's desk, saying "phew, just barely finished them! Anyways, here's those reports boss, have a good weekend!" You've just stolen a base.

Bringing the Safety Into the Box: You continue running a part of your business that is losing money in order to keep the competitor from gaining a complete monopoly in the sector. For instance, see Microsoft attempting to acquire Yahoo! in order to compete with Google.

Step-Back Jumper: You choose to release a product in what's normally considered off-season in order to benefit from the lack of competition. For instance, releasing a new video game in February rather than at Christmastime.

Pull Up Transition Jumper: A risky decision that hasn't been thought out and ends up costing your organization. For instance, the CEO of a desalinization company hears that Ethiopia is the next great booming economy, and immediately makes the decision to open 12 new distribution centers throughout Ethiopia and pours all of the company's resources into the effort. Four months into the Ethiopia campaign, though, it becomes clear that people in landlocked countries aren't that into desalinization products. The CEO had shot up a pull up transition jumper.

1 comment:

  1. I think i am going to have to print this list out and always have it hand.

    I can't wait to use one of these phrases, and impress all of the sports fans around me!

    Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete