When you ask people what their favorite words in business are, they will tell you things like: great, thank you, please, be nice, dependable, apologetic, peaceful, care, honor, laugh, help, how, we, have fun, be friends, value, unbridled optimism, grateful, well done, how can I help? -- these are all awesome words.
Empathy, passion, thoughtfulness come across.
Then we go to work and we: use, leverage, push, message, they, ripping competitors' kidneys out, campaigns, gobbledygook made-up disembodied corporate lingo in the third person -- heavens forbid we use "I". Social, collaborative, positive, helpful lingo is replaced by war metaphors.
Is it because of that other word: profit? Do rationalizations and detachment fill a need to feel important? We all know that there's a lot of imitating others going on -- best practices and toxic cultures alike. Something is getting lost in translation between human intent and expression.
Is it the magic of creation?
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Making things up is making things possible.
Any great movement or change starts inside, in one individual -- the "I" -- and spreads as a meme across communities. Because each member of that community feels like a unit of one -- one, distinct person, connected in thinking with others who feel the same way.
Have you noticed how with the explosion of social interaction we've reverted back from war to biology metaphors? If one person can indeed help bring about change...
What can you do?
You could learn to think independently. Working a little harder at figuring out your calling, getting closer to your passion and flow -- and forgetting what other people think, for a change. You can get feedback without getting hit with a 2 x 4 over the forehead.
Choose your mentors and advisers upon their ability to teach you by example. They exist, I promise. There are people out there, right now, with the amazing capacity for empathy, thoughtfulness, and passion. Pick them. Fire the rest.
Choose your words carefully:
- do great work
- say thank you
- ask please
- be nice
- be dependable
- honor yourself and others
- laugh -- a lot
- be peaceful
- stay grateful
- acknowledge something that is well done
- have fun
- be a friend -- beyond the social network way
Haque said about the Internet, I say it's broader than that. Far from fueling meaningful conversation, today's "social" web (and organized time) is a world full of the linguistic equivalent of drive-by shootings.
Choose connection. If you learn to think for yourself, and respect the other, you can still make a contrary compelling argument without becoming a contrarian just because.
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.