(Move the Needle 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.)
Move the Needle
When you really think about it, move the needle is not just annoying; it’s actually a fairly odd expression in business.
Since growth is theoretically infinite, very few real measurements important to business success can be tracked using a needle. Where is this needle? Is it on a gauge? Does it stop at some level?
Sure, nuclear power plants and NASA have gauges, but your business?
Graphs? Sure. Charts? Of course. Spreadsheets? Yep. But a gauge? Almost never.
Without a gauge, there is no needle to move. So, why is it the annoying bosses in our lives continually ask us to move the needle? Will they accept any needle movement? Isn’t moving the needle down (or to the left, we suppose) still moving the needle?
They didn’t ask us to grow or improve; only to move the needle. Given this, we take it as a free pass to fail when asked to move the needle. You should too.
Replacement phrases: Grow; Increase
See also: Incremental Improvement; Next Level
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon