In the spy-novel world there's a term of art: "Cover for Action". It refers to the plausible excuse(s) that the protagonist must have ready if caught where s/he shouldn't be, doing what s/he shouldn't be doing.

"Cover for Action" came to mind recently when I saw a memorandum from a newly-appointed senior executive (a boss's boss's boss's ... boss's boss) explaining in lovely logical detail why a predecessor's reorganization plan is being canceled. Instead, a new set of committees is to be established to study the situation further.

It suddenly occurred to me that, in a real-world bureaucracy, the far more useful phrase is "Cover for Inaction"!

(see also PyramidPeaking (26 Aug 2000), BossJobs (24 Jul 2001), WhySoBad (20 Oct 2002), OrganizationalInertia (11 Aug 2004), ...)

TopicLanguage - TopicHumor - TopicOrganizations - 2004-11-05

(correlates: PrimeDirective, FireFighting, BeingThere, ...)