In the last Jargon Genesis, we learned that business people shamelessly stole “benchmark” from surveyors. The time before, it was the poor circus folks that originated the “bandwagon,” which we stole. Before that, we borrowed a phrase from a mass murderer, “drinking the Kool-Aid.” This week we turn to the world of law to see what kind of vernacular we can use for our purposes.
The term “actionable” is thought to have originated in the late 16th century. In the field of law, it is an adjective, meaning affording grounds for legal action. Used in a sentence, this term might sound like, “Defamatory or otherwise actionable comments should be avoided.”
Or, “Steven Slater’s behavior was certainly actionable.”
But to us in the business world, we like to say things like, “The new strategy, based on consumer data, will be more actionable for accomplishing our marketing team.”
I suppose the idea is to operate a business where the key initiatives are actionable, but the actions of the company and its employers are not actionable.