Book 6

Mind Your Language!

Have you considered that language is a tool?

When we think about using data for communication and decision making, we generally think in terms of numbers, but the data which are used most often are expressed in words. We tend not to think too carefully about the language we use and assume that because everyone concerned is using a common tongue such as English, that we are all speaking the same language.

This is a small book with two very big ideas – operational definitions and the ladder of abstraction.

These simple concepts have the power to transform the effectiveness of your communication. We have repeatedly used the concept of operational definitions to reduce waste by up to 50%, just by clarifying ambiguous quality standards. We have even resolved industrial disputes using the concept of abstraction.

What is remarkable is not that these ideas are within the grasp of most 8 year olds (which is why the book does not need to be large or complex), but that one may graduate from the world’s top business schools without ever learning either of them.

Some participants tell us that these are among the best ideas in the whole Leadership for Transformation programme. Certainly we see the marked effect on the language which clients use and this drives forward their problem solving capability and improves communication all-round. Incredibly, these two concepts may be two of the best kept secrets in western civilization!

As usual we aim to fully engage the reader using multi-touch features combining video, exercises, thinking points and examples to get the message across.

Spend an hour studying this book and you will hear language differently. Soon is not a time. Some is not a number. As Shakespeare wrote win Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

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