It’s not long past the season of completing business planning and it would be remiss of me not to provide a few helpful definitions of business planning nomenclature.

Bottom up planning: planning completed from the absolute building blocks of the business so that the targets are in complete synchronisation with the resource requirements in terms of capital and operating expenditure, human resources by competency level, systems and processes taking into account any mandatory legal, corporate, government and community requirements. A plan built up from the bottom, brick by brick so that all elements of cause and effect are known.

Top down planning: that which occurs when bottom up planning gives the wrong result.

Key Result Areas: the areas of the business where the result is key to the business performing well; in most plans written as a list of tasks.

Objectives: the objectives of the key result areas of the business; in most plans written as a list of tasks.

Activities: the activities required to reach the objectives of the key result areas; in most plans written as a list of tasks.

Key Performance Indicators: those variables in the business which indicate whether the objectives of the Key Result Areas are likely to be met; in most plans written as a list of tasks or target dates.

Targets: the target range of a variable which indicates whether the objectives in a Key Result Area are likely to be reached; in most plans written as a list of tasks.

Tasks: the specific list of tasks which need to be completed for each activity to reach the objectives of each Key Result Area; rarely ever included in a business plan.

Decentralisation: a management strategy that involves the diffusion of power throughout different levels of a company.

Empowerment: a strategy intended to increase employees’ motivation by increasing their involvement in their work.

Job satisfaction: the combined attitudes and beliefs (positive or negative) that are held about a job, usually on a real downer when the decentralisation project does not devolve power but just tasks.

Planning: the formation of goals and the development of strategies and tactics to achieve these goals.

Strategic planning: planning.

Corporate planning: planning

Tactical planning: planning

Business planning: planning

Deck: a requirement of each corporate planning presentation; the PowerPoint deck of slides.

Fact-based management: consultant speak for evaluating and measuring a given business process, and using those “facts” to streamline it.

Anecdotal evidence: information gathered through conversations with a handful of customers, suppliers or salespeople used by stubborn executives to counter fact-based management.

Customer Relationship Management: Treating customers as individuals and customizing what you do to make them happy. Large companies do this with multimillion-dollar computer systems. Small companies generally do it with a coffee, handshake and a smile.

CRM: see Customer Relationship Management

CRM: Consultants Raking in Millions

Downsizing: An invented word which is usually paired with re-engineering. It means to have a smaller number of people being employed.

Rightsizing: An invented word meant to allay the fears of employees by suggesting that there may be an increase in the number of people employed. Nine times out of ten, read downsizing.

Capsizing: downsizing gone awry. It’s the process of a company repeatedly reducing head count, but not the work, until it goes under.

Ducks: as in having one’s ducks in a row sometimes as a result of careful bottom up planning.

Duck shuffler: a duck shuffler, usually someone in senior management, comes around and rearranges them for you just when you do get all your ducks in a row; usually as a result of top down planning.

Employees: people

Associates: people

Colleagues: people

Consultants: people

Human resources: people

Human capital: people

Living assets: people

Head count: number of people

Contractors: less important people

Dotted line: organizational speak for people in a division who do not have direct reporting responsibility to a manager in another division, but have shared responsibility. They always defer to their own division before contacting the manager whom they “dot” into, thus the dotted line is a guaranteed means of confusing people and abdicating accountability.

Bubble up: The act of letting an idea or issue rise up the organization chart to a superior; much like bottom up planning.

Core competencies: What we do well. ?In this plan, we are concentrating on our core competencies?. Translation: ?We have been overstretched and our last plan did not work?.

Key learnings: that which went wrong with the last plan.

Learning opportunity: mistakes made that will somehow be turned into future breakthroughs; a nice way of saying we’re trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Matrixed environment: an organizational structure where people report to a divisional manager, but have most of their work assigned and managed by a project manager from a different area; working for two bosses.