Our company helps business leaders significantly elevate their skills to empower people; unleash creativity, passion, and performance; and effect change. Unlocking the power of language is one of the ways we help our clients elevate these skills. In this article, I will share examples of how we unlock the power of language to benefit our clients. I will also stimulate your thinking about what words might be beneficial for you and your company to consider defining as a means to unlock the power of language.
When do you rely upon the dictionary for the definition of a given word? What problems are unintentionally perpetuated by dictionaries? When is it critically important to clarify the meaning you intend for a given word? When would it be helpful for your company to articulate a shared definition for a given word for your employees, customers, and prospective customers? When and why would an individual or an organization want to invent and define a new word or word phrase?
Dictionaries can be useful when you are seeking to understand the meaning attributed to a given written word. Dictionaries define words by how they are commonly used. Most words have multiple meanings because they are commonly used in multiple ways. Misunderstandings often result from people attributing different, commonly used meanings to the same word. Dictionaries unintentionally perpetuate these misunderstandings. In a business conversation, the meaning intended can readily be defined or clarified in the conversation. Words and word phrases that are most relevant to the benefits of a company’s products or services are the most valuable to define when it pertains to your company or clarify when it pertains to another’s.
Selling is a word that may be beneficial for many companies to define a shared meaning for their employees, customers, and prospective customers. Few companies benefit from this definition of selling in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary: “to deliver or give up in violation of duty, trust, or loyalty and especially for personal gain.” Yet most people have had many negative experiences with selling. Because of this negative connotation associated with selling, many companies strive to avoid using the word. Some companies have no one with a job title clearly associated with selling.
Our company defines selling¹ as helping people by empowering them. We do this by providing free training where interested people learn ideas they can immediately use to elevate their skill to empower people; unleash creativity, passion, and performance; and effect change. We include a daily call to action that can be done in 10 minutes or less each day for people to use the ideas they learn to elevate these leadership skills. The free session illustrates how we help our clients. Anyone who participates in a free training session walks away with ideas they can immediately use. We do share information at the end of this introductory session about one of the programs our company offers to help people significantly elevate their leadership skills.
Our company defines several words that are key to our company’s success. Some of the words we define are empower, learn, and change. Defining empower and change are important to our company because they each have multiple meanings and the way we define each word is key to the benefits our clients receive. How we define learning is essential to the means for our clients to achieve maximum value from our company’s training.
Our company breaks down the definition of learning into two different and distinct orders. First order learning is taking in, comprehending, and recalling information. Second order learning is applying information you have learned at the first order to make an impact in your work. Second order learning then is useful learning and involves elevating a skill. People often confuse these two distinct orders of learning. Since people have learned so much information at the first order that they have never used at the second order, people often confuse knowledge with skills. Effective leadership is about utilizing useful knowledge to elevate skills. All of the training our company provides involves acquiring useful knowledge and elevating skills.
How many times have you been to a training where you did not use the ideas you learned to elevate your skills? I once attended a leadership training session on vision. It was the second year in a row that there was a session on vision for my professional colleagues and myself at a conference. Before the second session, my colleagues were loudly complaining that they had already received training on vision. Yet I did not know of any colleague who was utilizing a vision in their work. They had never used the ideas learned in the first session to elevate their leadership skill utilizing vision to empower people and effect change. At that time, I was driven by a vision. I was looking forward to participating in a second session on vision wondering what new ideas I might learn that I could use to further elevate my skills utilizing a vision.
I personally invented and defined the word phrase: the disciplined practice of constructivist thinking. This helps our prospective clients to see that I am a thought leader bringing new ideas to help people elevate specific leadership skills to a level that is uncommon today. Constructivism is a theory that reality cannot be known with certainty; all that can be known with certainty is what reality is not. When you adopt this theory as a disciplined practice then you change your relationship with knowledge. It is like applying the mindset of a true scientist outside of the field of science. Knowledge fits reality, it is not an exact match. You can readily use knowledge when it is useful and set it aside when it is not. This disciplined practice enables you to keep your mind open to new possibilities, different ways of looking at the same set of circumstances. Adhering to this disciplined practice provides a means to unleash creativity, passion, and performance.
In conclusion, many companies could benefit by creating a shared definition for selling and by eliminating ambiguity concerning the definition of key words that are relevant to the benefits of their company’s products or services. Inventing new words or word phrases may be beneficial to introducing an innovation or thought leadership. While dictionaries may be useful in clarifying the meaning of a given written word, there is no reason for any company to be ambiguous concerning the meaning of a word critical to their company’s success.
¹Eric Lofholm is an international sales trainer and a personal mentor of mine. He says selling equals service. He provides free sales training to help people grow their business and elevate their selling skills while stimulating their interest in becoming a protégé.
Keith Weedman is the Principal of Level 3 by Design, a consulting and coaching company that specializes in helping customers unleash the power inherent in the disciplined practice of constructivist thinking to increase employee performance and employee engagement, and evoke vision, passion, and creativity. The company works with corporations, not-for-profit organizations, communities, and individuals. The company was founded in August 2013. To learn more, please visit Keith’s website – www.level3bydesign.com