Watch Your Language

If you want to communicate with someone it is a lot easier when you are both speaking the same language.  This goes well beyond “English”. It has to do with a group of people collectively working to redefine words to have specific, contextual meanings. This is why “touch”, “phone” and “search” mean something so radically different now compared to 20 years ago. People came together and gradually redefined these common words. They could have made new words but it’s more effective to iterate on existing words.

I have observed that successful organizations are very purposeful about language. They work to select and re-define their common vocabulary. Often this starts with leadership but it must be a team effort. A language unused becomes jargon.

A common language acts like an OS for a team. It’s a platform that enables agility, communication, delegation and accountability. Projects and systems can run on that platform.

Language must start at the top. If the boss doesn’t speak the team language then it won’t stick. I’m learning this myself- I really need to watch my language.