to embark on a course of action that so damages existing capabilities or relationships that future success is hindered, as in “Don’t penalize the whole company just because the Western division didn’t make its numbers, let’s not salt the earth here Tim”; derives from the legend of a victor punishing a vanquished group by spreading salt on its cropland, which purportedly renders it useless for agriculture; although the expression implies vengeful intent, in the business context it generally connotes recklessness rather than malice; salted earth is a side effect of particularly poor management; syn., poison the well

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