21 mrt New words are needed for real change
Let’s face it: we are entangled in a language without meaning, without emotion and without promise. I call it square language, versus round and warm language. Most companies have boards whose members went to business school where they learned two awful skills: impressive language and how to use power point. Skills that will follow them throughout their careers using safe words, comfortable definitions, recognized and repeated by their consultants from McKinsey and BCG. I believe these two skills are killing innovation and creativity within small and big corporations. Take the banks: the crisis hasn’t changed their attitude nor their language. The same words, the same clichés. Bankers and analysts, financial journalists and consultants all stick together inside the old game, with the old vocabulary. No wonder change is so difficult to implement. If you want to change, to adapt to the real world out there, you will have to listen to the voice of the street. Your clients are right there, not in the MBA class room. The words in songs, the metaphors in graffiti, poems, theatre. Open your ears and your brain to the signals from real people living in the real world. Your parachute has many holes, you just haven’t start noticing.
CEO’s, wherever you are, be inspired by art and not by Kotter, by literature instead of INSEAD. If you want to change your company, if you want to innovate and beat your competitors, be brave and dare to speak a new language. Yours.