For Impact


Creating A Strategic Vocabulary

For Impact Ideas | | Tom Suddes

I’ve mentioned this book before, MAVERICKS AT WORK. Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre have super strong Fast Company roots. One of my 3 favorite magazines.

They have a wonderful segment in the book about:

What you think shapes how you talk – creating a strategic vocabulary.

If you’ve been exposed to more than 30 seconds to the For Impact thinking, you know how much this resonates with Nick, Kerry, our coaches and me. CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY has always been one of our most powerful Guiding Principles.

Here is some great reinforcement to why that is so important, via nuggets from Mavericks at Work.

  • Maverick entrepreneurs don’t sound like traditional executives. They almost always describe their strategies and practices – the ideas that animate their companies – in ways that sound unique, authentic and even a bit strange.
  • One sign that a company (organization) is pursuing a truly original, competitive strategy is that it has created its own vocabulary. Not buzz words, acronyms and other verbal detritus of business-as-usual… but an authentically homegrown language that captures how a company (organization) competes, how its people work, why it expects to succeed, and what it means to win. (WOW.)
  • Finally, because they think about their business differently, maverick organizations almost always talk about their business differently.

The next 10 pages go on to talk about “disruptive business strategies”, “disruptive ideas”, “distinctive cultures” and “purpose-based strategy” (I love that).

It also highlights some really cool companies that believe firmly in the power of language and symbols.

I thought I’d close with this great quote from a senior advertising executive in a remarkably innovative and successful company.

When asked this question: Why invest so much energy in building a vocabulary, as opposed to just, say, building factories and laboratories for clients? “Because the heart of every great company is a clear sense of purpose.”

Nuff said.