Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pet Peeve: Going Forward

My Pet Peeve:

People who add "going forward" onto the end of a perfectly good sentence.

Explanation: I have noticed this language phenomenon primarily with two types of people: athletic coaches and upper management. Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable (to them, anyway) to say a sentence and then follow it with "going forward" or "looking forward" or "moving forward" to indicate that they're looking toward the future:

  • "We need to reduce costs if we want to increase market share going forward."
  • "We must integrate our facilities for seamless deployment of our mission critical infrastructure looking forward."
  • "Our defense needs to adapt to these offensive schemes if we want to get better going forward."
  • "The tremendous upside potential of that draft pick is what this organization needs to succeed moving forward"
Apparently, in these lines of work, it's important to be perceived as someone who is focused on the future. A leader with "vision" is a leader people will follow. Otherwise, the only thing that leader can be evaluated on is their present performance, and lord knows that's miserable. Would you rather be seen as a visionary, or as the coach of a 1-7 team? Would you rather be seen as a brilliant strategic planner, or as the person who was in charge when the company stock tanked?

If the sentence suggests that an action be taken, it means that the action HAS NOT BEEN TAKEN YET, and hence will happen in the future. You don't need to say "going forward". Nobody says, "I wish I had played tennis in high school going backward." Nobody says, "The weather is absolutely beautiful today going absolutely nowhere."

Trust me, if we can get people to stop speaking like this, the world will be a good place going forward.

1 comment:

The Good Jeremy said...

You're absolutely right! I will stop doing this going forward.

BTW, My Pet Peeve:
People sneaking links to Their Webpage into your comment section. That's just rude and underhanded.