Monday, April 6, 2015

Just Asking...

Corporate America's insatiable need to morph verbs into nouns and nouns into verbs has struck again. I was in a meeting recently when the executive in charge asked, "What's the ask?" The reply was something along the lines of, "The ask is that we reduce our exposure in less optimal market segments while increasing our visibility in... blah blah blah."

I appeared to be paying attention--after three decades of business meetings, I've gotten pretty good at this. But my thoughts were focused on The Ask. It seems to be on everyone's corporate lips these days: 
Do we have a clear understanding of The Ask?
Does the strategy address The Ask?
We must clearly define The Ask before moving forward.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Airless Conference Room, point of order, if you please:  "Ask" is a verb. "The Ask" is... well, beats me. So my "ask" is that we please get back to "What's the objective?" or "What is the task at hand?" or or even "What in the hell are we supposed to do?"

"What's the ask?" just sounds askinine.