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burning platform

a crisis that makes people change their behaviour


burning platform = eine schwere Krise z.B. in einem Unternehmen, die zu einer Änderung der Einstellung oder des Verhaltens der Mitarbeiter führt --- GOOGLE INDEX burning platform: approximately 600,000 Google hits



"When you're on a BURNING PLATFORM, you're in a race against time... In politics, the instinctive reaction to a burning platform is denial."

(South African politician Helen Zille)

Less than six months after he arrived at Nokia as CEO, Mr. Elop wrote his famous BURNING PLATFORM memo to employees.

(Forbes magazine)

Did you

burning platform
noun, business slang

- a major crisis

(Online Slang Dictionary)

The term "burning platform" is business jargon for a severe crisis that results in a company and/or its employees changing their way of thinking. It uses the analogy of a worker on a burning oil platform who decides to jump into the sea. When asked why he jumped, he replies, "Better probable death than certain death." The point is that the burning platform caused a radical change in his behaviour.

This expression can be found in the Forbes magazine list of most annoying, pretentious and useless business jargon, which also includes:

- swim lane = a specific responsibility within a business organization - in other words your job. If asked about your swim lane, don't change into your bathing suit.

- empower = giving someone a task, or as Forbes sarcastically puts it: "What someone above your pay grade does when they apparently want you to do a job of some importance."

- open the kimono = to reveal information. Businessmen are discouraged from using this phrase with female colleagues.

- peel the onion = to analyze a problem one layer at a time. This phrase is so overused it makes you cry.

- think outside the box = to approach a business problem in an unconventional way. With fewer interruptions, thinking "inside" the box is often more productive.

- full service = to offer everything a customer needs, as opposed to offering half, three-quarter or five-eighths service.

SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation
"A defective printer does not qualify as a burning platform."

Thanks to Ewald for suggesting today's word!

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