Once quarantined to the office, “going forward” (or its twin, “moving forward”) has infected the public arena. Politicians, bank industry
leaders, media personalities, economists, medical personnel, film stars and even sporting legends are broadcasting the ghastly turn of phrase
to speculate on the new normal – or life post this pandemic.

You will hear it raise its ugly head when the medical professional speaks about “a plan to ease social distancing measures going forward”, as the politician in a TV interview explains that “along with other COVID-19 work, it will help us to progress going forward”, and while the economist predicts “going forward, unemployment rates are anticipated to treble-out”.

The chief executive will offer up that “post-COVID-19 we are planning a new future for the company going forward”, the sporting legend tweets “going forward, the pandemic has taught us many lessons that we can use to improve our future lives” and the newsreader spruiks “we are likely to see greater precautions taken going forward”.

In the short time that COVID-19 has ruled our lives, the phrase “going forward” has touched our prominent leaders in the same way as past insufferable pieces of babble speak, such as “thinking outside the box”, “let’s park that” and “we must circle back”.

Gary Martin is Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Management in Western Australia. He is a learning and development specialist with extensive experience in the design and delivery of programs in Western Australia and internationally. He is currently an Emeritus Professor of Murdoch University and Zhejiang University of Technology (Zhejiang Province, China), as well as an Honorary Professor at Guangdong University of Business Studies (Guangdong Province, China).