January 6, 2016

by Alex Freytag

Letters spelled out Language.jpg At EOS we teach that you can’t build a business on multiple operating systems with multiple languages. Your language must be intentional and conscious. When you use consistent language on a daily basis with your team, it reinforces your company culture and helps your team to bond.

EOS Terms and Language

EOS is full of culture-reinforcing tribal lingo. We “IDS” (Identify, Discuss, Solve) issues. We ask “does he GWC (Get it, Want it, Have the Capacity) his role?” We say “Accountability Chart,” not “Organizational Chart.” We call quarterly priorities “Rocks,” not goals. We coach leadership team members to have “quarterly conversations,” not reviews. To strengthen the Process Component, we suggest the leadership team decide what they call their handful of core processes, and call them that forever.

The Power of Words in Company Culture

Additionally, in my experience, when you use the word “We” instead of “I,” you send a message to your team that you’re all in this together and that you’re a team. Conversely, using “I” has ego, power, and insecurity attached to it and can establish barriers. When you talk about your company to others, subordinate your ego to the greater good of the team and use “we” instead of “I.”

Similarly, remove the word “division” from your vocabulary when describing a company business unit, as it only serves to reinforce a silo mentality. Replace it with words such as these: team, practice, group, line of business, business unit, or something similar. “Marketing team” sounds more approachable and inclusive than “Marketing division.”

Agreeing on language as a team makes you more efficient by creating clarity. You’ll find that language consistency speeds communication and understanding throughout your organization. It also reinforces your culture and contributes to your tribal unity.

Are you intentional with your company’s language? Are you consistent with it? Are you creating a team bonded by language and focused on the greater good?

This article first appeared on the EOS Worldwide Blog on December 31st, 2015.

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