(Stake in the Ground 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.)
Stake in the Ground
In any office, announcing you are putting a stake in the ground has always been annoying on the surface; though today it’s especially annoying because it seems to have multiple – often nonsensical – meanings.
Used correctly, stake in the ground should be akin to making a claim. For example, in the late 1800s, those involved in a land rush could claim acreage for themselves or their clan by being the first to put their stake in the ground – staking a claim to that land. Not important to this discussion, but when they gave up their claim, they were said to be pulling up stakes.
Makes sense, right?
Okay, now let’s examine how your annoying manager misuses this phrase. We’ve heard stake in the ground uttered to imply drawing a line in the sand. We’ve heard it used to mark the beginning of a project. We’ve heard it said to reference an investment.
Rarely do we hear stake in the ground used to imply a do-nothing boss is laying a claim to something. While that would still be annoying, at least it would be correctly annoying.
Replacement phrases: Given the multiple misuses of this phrase, there are too many possible replacements to list; just say what you mean.
See also: Line in the Sand
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon