April 3, 2021

On Corporate Language

Having spent two decades fighting the battle of corporate language from within at two huge organizations, I learned this:

First, new language that is abnormal to current corporate trends is often difficult to not only convey but to be absorbed by leaders. There is the language hill to overcome itself but there’s also the stress of their role, objectives, time, etc. Having the white space to interpret & then adopt new language is hard. Not impossible, but it’s certainly rife with burdens.

Second, at least in my experience, success happens by way of interpretive differentiation. A frontline team member cannot be expected to act like a senior executive thus a language differential at the role level is necessary. That may manifest in an organization’s leadership philosophy, coaching habits, learning culture, and so on. Bottom line? A one-size-fits-all language rule is futile.

Third, some buzzwords actually should be used to ensure relatability. While I may find abhorrent the use of certain language, I know that the rest of the organization has already adopted it. Best to make new language relatable.

Last and personally, the same goes for my writing. I write books and articles for different audiences. Language matters. Reach employees (or readers) where they’re at. 

What say you? Participate in the 100% anonymous poll below.

Communications Poll

My organization needs to communicate to employees "where they're at."

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