• Amy Clark

Words that Capture the Work

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

How are the words we are using encouraging us to step out of comfort zones or consequently trapping us in them?

There are a few words I use often to describe things that happen in growing organizations. I wanted to step back and look at the tipping points of these words; the points where the action behind the word goes from productive and meaningful to unproductive and empty.

Disrupt: Can be used as a positive force for good, such as identifying a system that is antiquated and using excess resources to get the job done, when if open to change, a leaner more integrated system could free up talent for other work. Or, it can be a crutch to make an idea gone wrong or internal mess sound purposeful and modern.

What is at the core of disruption? Looking ahead and looking behind to truly assess the next step without being married to any one way of doing something. Freedom to expand our thinking around a process and understanding that it will bring some chaos for a period of time.

Strategy: Can be used as a motivation for success when we align what we are doing to our future-facing vision of where we want to go. Or, it can be used as a tactical strong hold, keeping our vision in the present and consuming our ability to monitor the real-world shifts around us.

What is at the core of strategy? We want to make smart decisions in a coordinated fashion that will advance our ultimate goals and purpose. We want to have meaning in our daily work and personal investments knowing it is contributing to something bigger.

Infrastructure: Can be vital to building in processes, systems and physical structures that will support the day to day and bigger work of the organization. It provides the objective place to do the work and a set of guiderails for when situations, decisions and scenarios get complex. Or, if given too much authority, the infrastructure can smother the passionate and joyful work.

What is at the core of infrastructure? We want to have our checks and balances, safety measures and core operational systems in place to provide clear, accurate, fair and helpful information when we need to make the hard decisions. We need a place to convene and a strong set of systems that can keep up with the work flowing through the organization in a healthy sustainable fashion.

Our descriptive words will keep changing as we continuously learn, but it will always come down to having communication with intention. We use popular business lingo to create a shared understanding of the complex work we are trying to tackle as we grow and nurture our organizations.

Keeping the core mission, purpose and culture at the center, gives each individual on the team the agency to pay attention to the tipping points of the actions behind the words that influence how our organizations reach their full potential for positive change.

Awaken the Potential in your team to communicate with clarity and intention!


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