List of business terms

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The following terms are in everyday use in financial regions, such as commercial business and the management of large organisations such as corporations.

Noun phrases[edit]

Noun phrase Definition
30,000 foot view Program management view
50,000 foot view Highest management overview
Bandwidth Availability[1]
Benchmark Measuring against
Best practice Tried and tested methodology/process
Blue sky thinking Idealistic or visionary ideas, not always with practical application (source: BBC)
Bottleneck Where a process is held up
Cascade Array of possible actions to take in response to a problem: protocol
Check in the box Complete the task
Cross-functional Works in multiple directions simultaneously
Customer-centric The customer is the main focus
Cutting edge practices Up to date or new methods
Dashboard Collection of key indicators
Deliverable(s) Finished product or outcome
Downsize Reduce the number of employees through a lay-off
End-user perspective Point of view of a customer about a product or service
Evergreen Content that is always relevant[1]
Flavour of the month The current popular or trending activity
Golden handshake Contract clause which richly rewards a key employee in the case of termination
Golden parachute Contract clause richly (perhaps excessively) rewarding a key executive if termination is due to corporate takeover or merger
Hard stop Deadline[1]
Hub A central idea to which other ideas are linked
In the loop Knowing what's going on and being kept informed
In the weeds Immersed or entangled in details or complexities
Joined-up thinking Discussing the viewpoints of each organization and coming to an agreement or compromise
Low-hanging fruit Tasks that have the greatest positive effect for the least effort, used when promoting new projects to show the advantages.[1]
Lay-off Redundancies on a large scale
Nesting Processes within processes
Off the shelf Buying in a product or service that is already completed
One button to push/Push of a button Reduced number of suppliers
Operational excellence Sustainable improvement of key performance metrics
Python Challenging problem[1]
Raft of measures A collection of proposals or schemes
Rattler Obvious problem[1]
Run it up the flagpole Test the popularity of a new idea or proposal. [2]
Scalability A small component's ability to grow within a larger system[1]
Silo (Vertical and Horizontal) A system, process, department, etc. that operates in isolation from others.
Silver bullet One solution for everything[dubious ]
Six Sigma A system for process improvement by error reduction
Stakeholders Group or individual affected by the outcome of a decision
Talent Employees
Tent pole The task or item most likely to delay a project or consume the most resources
Under-pinning The foundations of an idea, which helps another related scheme or proposal
Unique selling proposition (USP) Any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects
Win-win solution Providing a product or service which makes everyone happy, particularly both buyer and seller

Verb phrases[edit]

Verb phrase Definition
Action that Put something into practice[1]
Baked in Something which has been "baked in" is implied to be impossible to remove. Alternatively, "baked in" can refer to a desirable, although non-essential, property of a product being incorporated for the user's convenience.
Boil the ocean Undertake an impossible or impractical task [1]
Buck the trend To follow an action against market tendencies
Build capacity Take actions which increase the amount of work that can be done in the future.
Circle back Discuss later[1]
Circle the wagons Defensive strategy to provide time to plan or produce a better solution
Cover all directions of the compass Ensure the product specification covers everything
Create the storyboard Outline what the solution will look like
Deep dive Get into the detail
Drill down Investigate in depth [1]
Flogging a dead horse Wasting efforts[1]
Have the vendor in our pocket Keep a vendor/contractors paid
Ideate Come up with ideas[1]
Land and expand To sell a small solution and then grow it within the client's environment
Make hay Productive or successful in a short time[1]
Moving forward Making progress on an idea or scheme
Move the goal posts Change the criteria for success[1]
Pick the low-hanging fruit Go (initially) for the easiest options [1]
Power to the elbow Get additional backup information to make your case stronger
Pull the plug Close a venture that is losing money or has no prospects of success
Punt Relinquish responsibility[1]
Pushing the envelope Going outside normal boundaries to achieve a target or goal (such as exceeding specifications)
Put this on your radar Consider this[1]
Scrub the numbers Find errors[1]
Sing from the same hymn sheet Show a united front, or everyone understanding and saying the same thing to clientele.
Table the conversation Reconvene at a later time[1]
Test the water 'Put your toe' into a market to determine its temperature.
Touch base To meet up with a colleague to discuss progress (from baseball)
Touch base offline Meet and talk[1]
Tranch up the workload Divide responsibilities[1]
Trim the fat Cut excess budgets, remove avoidable costs [1]
Unscramble that egg Take care of that mess[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Alisa Wolfson (June 23, 2017). "18 obnoxious things that everyone in the office should stop saying". / Dow Jones & Company.
  2. ^ "Flagpole". Oxford Dictionary. Retrieved 24 October 2019.