There is something I love about random management phrases. I mean obviously I don’t like to actually use them, because they sound totally mad and often they really confuse the issue. However there are two words to do with the areas of your control and expertise that I really like.
The first is wheelhouse. It’s the name of the room where the captain of a ship stands. Literally, I guess, the room that houses the wheel of the ship. And this one is something you want more things in really. People say, “hey that’s right in Alex’s wheelhouse”. Well they don’t because they don’t use any of the cool phrases at my work, they just ask me to “action the pre-meeting”. But that’s what they would say to mean, “that’s right up Alex’s street”. It’s sort of about it being in your comfort zone, but comfort zone sounds a bit too wimpy. It’s actually used in baseball a lot to suggest that the ball was thrown to the place that the batsman really likes to hit from. So I guess you want more people to think that such-and-such will be in your wheelhouse.
Now bailiwick is the other word I like. Technically, this comes from the world of bailiffs and still exists in that world today. It means essentially ‘area of jurisdiction’. And of course, you might think, you as a young thrusting person would like to have more things under your control, the phrase is seldom used that way. It’s really used to explain what you aren’t in control of. Somebody says to you, “hey Alex, can you take this broom and sweep up the kitchen?”, you have to turn to this person and say, “I’m sorry Sir, but that’s not my bailiwick”. Basically, it’s a fancy way of telling somebody to shove off while also explaining that it’s “not my problem”. Of course I have never really used it [not at work, anyway – Ed] because it would make you sound like a mad person.
So while I fear those who freely use phrases such as, “We need to pro-actively seek to add value going forward”, I secretly also want the freedom to pepper my dialogue with these really cool words. Sadly, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Perhaps saying such words isn’t in my wheelhouse?