Blog in 05 2017.
Our Hannah gave a great talk on language in culture recently. And although she covered a lot in the talk, we've thought it was worth pulling out four quick wordy tips that you can put into action, straight away.
Watch your metaphors
How would your people describe themselves? The pictures we paint can say a lot about our attitudes to work. It’s not hard to see why Enron’s ‘Guys with spikes’ made different business decisions to Ritz Carlton’s ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen’. Language shapes our identity.
Be active, not passive
When you use passive language, no one’s accountable. It might feel easier to say ‘mistakes were made’ than ‘I made a mistake’, but be warned: use too much passive language and you could easily create a culture where no one takes responsibility for anything. Take ownership. Use the active voice.
Keep it simple: cut the corporate-speak
If you want your teams to do things differently, one of the easiest ways to win them over is by writing more like you speak. Jargon and buzzwords set eyes rolling at best - and at worst switch us off completely. They’re less clear, too. What does being ‘operationally excellent’ look like? It’s hard to picture. But ask me to ‘do one thing better every day’ and I can instantly think of things I can improve.
If in doubt, bring in a fresh pair of eyes
The longer you’ve worked somewhere, the harder it is to spot the little things that could be undermining your culture. So if you’d like a second opinion, we’d love to help.