(Double-Edged Sword is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Seriously, aren’t at least half of all swords double-edged? We’ll venture to guess that more than 75% of swords are doubled-edged.
So, why then is a double-edged sword treated as something unique? Moreover, why does it mean something with both favorable and unfavorable consequences?
A double-edged sword does not mean a sword with two blades instead of a blade and a handle; it simply implies the sword has the same sharp edge on both sides of the blade.
Someone using a double-edged sword would know this, right? Shouldn’t we assume they would employ both edges to their advantage in a sword fight? Yet, we warn them something is a double-edged sword. That doesn’t make any sense.
But you may ask, why is it annoying?
There are two reasons this term deserves its place in this book. First, its overuse. Annoying managers who grab hold of annoying phrases are like pit bulls – they never let go. Those who like to use double-edged sword cannot stop using it. Everything becomes a double-edged sword in their world.
“Drinking coffee after eleven is a double-edged sword.”
“Scoring a great parking space in front of the office is a double-edged sword.”
“Finding lint in your belly button is a double-edged sword.”
Yes, it can and does border on the absurd!
The second reason double-edged sword made the cut of annoying business phrases is that even when used correctly, it’s employed more as a warning of the potential bad outcomes by managers afraid to make decisions.
“That’s a real double-edged sword; are we sure it makes sense for us to proceed?” These managers are weak, skittish;, and more concerned about their bonuses than driving the business forward.
Cowards! All of them! And, I think we can all agree the only thing more annoying that a cliché-spewing, pompous turd-of-a-manager is a weak, indecisive turd-of-a-manager.
Replacement phrases: No replacement needed; just mention the potential pitfalls of a decision, if any.
See also: Analysis Paralysis
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon