Thursday, 12 September 2019

Words have power

Today's theme for the Procurement mindset challenge is the words we use.

It's a topic I return to time and time again because:
  • Words have the power to confuse or clarify
  • Words have the power to impact how we act - positively or negatively
  • Words have power to find solutions - even when we think we're stuck
Here's some blogs and vlogs I've written on the subject: 


Words have the power to confuse or clarify

When asked to describe 'chocolate' in 8 words here's the response I got from 21 people 

  • Of the 168 words 95 of them were different
  • The top word was Dark, and yet only said by 11 out of 21 people 
  • Everyone had at-least one word not shared with anyone else 
When we can get such different responses to a simple word like chocolate it's no wonder we struggle with other meatier words. Remember only 11 of the 21 people participating agreed on the most popular word, and everyone had at least one unique word to them.


Words have the power to impact how we act

Our internal image associated with a word or saying impacts our behaviour, which is the same for our stakeholders too. Which means noticing what words have a negative impact and changing them to something more resourceful is a great strategy.

For example, calling a stakeholder maverick is likely to mean we start very adversarially with them from the off.

Here's other words I think can trip us up.

Words have power to find solutions

Alternatively, exploring the metaphor contained within our words can provide us with a potential route to find a solution. 

For example, when juggling balls we might just need to metaphorically get some Velcro so we can stick the balls waiting to be juggled into a board out of the way, or the plates yet to be spun can go on a plate rack!  

Other sayings rich with insight include:
  • Turn over a new leaf :-)

This ability to find the solutions within the words we use is further explored in my book - can't see the wood for the trees - where we explore solutions hidden in the landscape when we're: stuck in a rut; up the creek without the paddle; going around in circles; treading water; and can't see the wood for the trees.



The key in all the above instances is bringing into conscious awareness the words we're using and the impact that they are or could have on the outcome we're getting or want.

More than happy to spend a day with your team doing a Procurement Mindset Audit - you'll be amazed at what will be uncovered. 

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