Corporate Lingo – Terms, Buzz words, Phrases, Idioms used in the corporate world!

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Corporate lingo

Corporate Lingo is a collection of terms/phrases/idioms used in the industry.

Improve your corporate vocab!!


It is obsessive indecisiveness that paralyses one’s ability to move forward / make decisions due to various reasons like fear or outcome, inability to foresee the results etc.


A situation in which a person avoids taking an action or making decision due to over-analysis or over-thinking. Also, termed “Paralyzed by analysis”.

Back to square one:

To go “back to square one” means to start something over again.

Back to the drawing board:

To start something all over again from the planning process/stage.

Ballpark number/figure:

Inexact, inaccurate estimate.

Benchmark/ bench-marking:

A standard to measure something/ measure against a benchmark.

Best Practice:

 It is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements. (Source wiki)


A hindrance or congestion in a process / where a task is paused or held up.

Blue Collar:

A worker who works with his hands (Manufacturing, construction, maintenance etc.) It is also used to describe a job/ position.


Is a technique in which a group of people think and gather ideas to find a solution to a problem or derive conclusion.

Break-even point:

Attaining a level or reaching point at which there is neither loss nor gain, in business.


An important discovery or development in a process/project.

Check in the box- Finish the task

Circle the wagons:

Is an act of unifying to defend (to protect a common interest).

Create the storyboard:

Give an overview of the result or a solution.

Cutting edge practices:

Being in a leading position or up-to-date processes/practices/ methods.


Used to describe something that is intense and aggressive. There was a cut-throat competition.


Is a report that gives a single-glance overview either of a process/activity/ project.

Data Analysis:

The process of analyzing and evaluating data using analytical and logical reasoning to identify each component of the data provided.


An outcome of a process. Results.


DMAIC stands for Define Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control. A six sigma methodology to improve the quality of a process by following a step-by step phase of the process set for improvement.


An expression used to communicate or describe something that is gained easily is also lost easily.


Something that is undefined and not easily categorized.


Something that is highly innovative and is new.

Hit the nail on the head:

Being 100% accurate in saying or doing something.

In a nutshell:

To mean, “in simple words” / “in few words”.

In the driver’s seat:

To be in charge or full control.


It is a model applied to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources, a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.

Learn the ropes:

Learning the basics of something.

Low-hanging fruit:

Anything easily attainable, with little effort.

No brainer:

An obvious or easy decision is a ‘no brainer’ decision.

On a roll:

Someone “on a roll” means she/he had several successes in a row.

Operational Excellence:

A workplace philosophy that optimizes its efforts, processes and performance to meet customer expectations.

Paradigm Shift:

“fundamental change”, “critical adjustment”.

Power to the elbow:

Getting additional backup information to make your case stronger.

Pushing the envelope:

Going outside normal boundaries to achieve a target or goal (such as exceeding specifications)

Raft of measures:

A collection of proposals or schemes

Raise the bar:

To set higher standards or expectations.

Read between the lines:

To understand something that is not obvious or something that is not directly communicated.

Root cause Analysis:

The process of analyzing the root cause of a problem based on different sig sigma analysis tools.


The capability of a process to handle a growing amount of work. Or a potential to be enlarged to accommodate that growth

Silver bullet:

A single solution for everything.

Six Sigma:

A set of management techniques aimed at improving business processes by reducing the probability of errors/defects.


It is the term used for the traditional mail that goes through the post office.

Stand-one’s ground:

Means not to change one’s opinion or position on something.


A person or group that is impacted by a decision.


A buzz word for team work. The combined effort and result of two or more organizations or people is greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Tent pole:

The task or item most likely to delay a project or consume the most resources

Touch base:

To contact someone. A basic/ general discussion about something.


The foundations of an idea, which help another related scheme or proposal.

Under-the table:

Something done secretively (usually illegal) under the table.

Uphill battle:

Something that is difficult to achieve due to obstacles on the way up.


A white collar worker is someone who works in an office (customer service, management, sales, etc.). It is also used to describe a jo/ position.

Win-win solution/ situation:

A situation in which everyone involved is benefited. Providing a product or service which makes everyone happy.

Womb to tomb:

An idea or program that is killed before it has a chance to grow or flourish.

50,000 foot view:

Highest management overview.


This corporate lingo section will be constantly updated. If you wish to add more to the list, or have questions on any of the terms above, please post in comments.

Here’s something to tickle your funny bone. A post on 60 commonly used, cliched business jargon.

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