How To Speak “Management”

January 12, 2015


For most people, picking up a new language is a challenging task, no matter how smart they are.  Gaining proper eloquence, learning the nuances – it can take years of practice.

However, there is one language you can pick up in a matter of hours, and while it may be most relevant for only a select number of people, it may have more to do with your professional development (and possible promotion) than any other language you could acquire.  What language is this? “Management.”

    Yeah, those people   

    “up there” have their

    own language… 


This article will attempt to offer an introduction to the language called “management,” by presenting some of the key words in this language’s vocabulary. Remember, language is more than just a means of communication; it’s also represents mindset, and effective management is all about being in the right mindset.

This language can be picked up in a matter of hours and used fluently in a matter of weeks. Why? Because it doesn’t have tens of thousands of words, like regular language do, and there are only a few single grammatical rules. There is only a short list of key words you need to learn and fully internalize in order to gain ownership of this language.

Your new vocabulary list:

  • Asset

  • Burden

  • Objective

  • Milestone

  • Bottleneck

  • Force Amplifier

  • Early Indicator

  • Assumption

  • Problem Oriented

  • Solution Oriented

  • Reactive

  • Proactive

  • Descriptive

  • Analytical

  • Recommendation

  • Alternatives

Let’s get started with the most important words on this list:  Asset.

The standard definitions of the word ‘Asset’ are:

  1. A useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational ability is an asset.

  2. A single item of ownership having exchange value.

  3. Assets,

    • Items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery or real estate (opposed to liabilities).

    • Accounting. The items detailed on a balance sheet, esp. in relation to liabilities and capital.

    • All property available for the payment of debts, esp. of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.

    • Law. Property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.

In Management, the definitions of the word “Asset” are slightly different: 


  1. The degree of your contribution to your manager’s ability to make better decisions.

  2. The enhancement you bring to the overall resources your managers have available.

Management is about a whole list of challenges that relate to vision building, resource allocation, team building, and more.  But at the heart of all of these challenges, there’s one fundamental core-challenge: decision-making. 

If you want to speak fluent management , you need to understand that your message has to be directly related to the most pressing decisions that decision-makers are facing at that time, in context of the Objectives “they” are trying to achieve.

When your message does not relate to these pressing decisions, you will quickly be tagged as a Burden, a vocabulary word you want to avoid. However, if you consistently ensure that your message is directly related to the pressing decisions they are facing, and if you construct your message in a way that helps them make better decisions, you will quickly be tagged as an Asset.

Remember, being an Asset is about enhancing other people’s ability to make better decisions.

The first thing about being an Asset, has to do with your own orientation.  Which has more of your attention: the problem at hand, or the possible solutions to that problem?

When you are Problem-Oriented, the nature of your message is likely to be Descriptive – offering endless details and facts about the current situation as well as the path that led up to this current situation, without any suggested solutions.  Problem orientation is about looking back, searching for excuses (and in many cases, people to blame).  Being Problem-Oriented is the fastest way to become a Burden.  Until humanity finds a way to travel back in time, the past cannot be altered, making this mindset a total waste of your manager’s time (and your time, too).

Effective managers care more about the future than the past.  When they do look into the past, it’s only in order to better shape the future. 

To ensure that you are perceived as (and are in fact) an Asset, you need to discard the Descriptive approach, and adapt a Solution-Oriented mindset, usually indicated by Analytical messages that focus on possible solutions to the current problems in a way that is based on clearly defined Assumptions, Alternatives, and Early Indicators.

Forward Framing
The fastest way to becoming Solution-Oriented and adopting an Analytical approach when speaking Management, is to always begin your message with a reference to the future, specifically relating to Objectives you know the person with whom you are communicating needs to achieve.

This is called Forward Framing – when your entire message is framed in context of the future (rather than the past).

For instance, when questioned by their managers as to why they need the extra resources they’ve recently requested (bigger budget, additional personal, etc.), most people offer Descriptive answers that relate to their current workload, and the list of problems they have due to lack of resources.  From their perspective, these problems are what they face on a daily level, so it’s understandable that they are preoccupied with them.  Their managers, however, need to keep their eyes on the bigger picture, understanding exactly how certain extra resources they approve will help meet the overall objectives they are committed to. Therefore, when you speak Management, you need to always use Forward Framing, ensuring that you always incorporate into your message an answer to the question: “why?”  Why should you be given extra resources?  Why should your recommendations be approved?


  • Question: “WHY do you need extra personnel?”

  • Problem-Oriented: “We are extremely understaffed and we’re already running behind schedule.  We can’t handle the current work load without extra personnel.”

  • Solution-Oriented: “With the extra personnel, we should be able to guarantee meeting the deadline without falling behind on the rest of our workload.”

  • Fluent Management: “If we want to secure future contracts with this client, it’s imperative that we meet the current deadline.  We can either delay some of the other projects we are currently working on – in which case, I would like to discuss prioritization with you when you have a chance – or we need to extra personnel to stay on schedule with all the current projects.”

The ability to speak Management is an extremely important tool to have in your arsenal. These few simple tricks can help you to close a big deal with a client, help decision-makers come up with the best possible solution, and maybe get you a promotion. Take a few days to learn this language; it’ll be worth it.

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