founder of naked leader

7 of the most used, confusing and misunderstood words in every organisation

7 of the most used, confusing and misunderstood words in every organisation

Time to Read and View All:  Just over 2 minutes

7 of the most used and misunderstood words in every organisation

7. Priority

Every project seems to be a ‘priority’.

What to do – Have a company-wide Project Priority list – numbered in order 1 to n. with only one project to each number – (In Naked Leader we call this Radical Simplicity).

6. Culture

Yoghurt, yoghurt everywhere.

What to do – Culture = You. So whenever anyone uses the word, they are talking about themselves.

5. Communication

Means so many different things to different people it has itself become meaningless – how ironic is that?

What to do – When people use the word communication ask ‘what kind of communication?’ So often in responses to staff surveys people state that ‘communication is poor.’ Be clear what is meant in the survey by communication and ask people to explain what they mean by it and how to improve it.

4. ‘We’

It is not always clear who people mean when they say ‘we’ – my team, this organisation, who?

What to do – Ask ‘Who do you mean by we?’ (Brave question that will make you a hero as everyone will want to know).

3. Failure

Rarely has such a negative word been so frequently used.

What to do – People, teams and organisations only ‘fail’ when they give up – and giving up is always a choice – so make it a conscious choice.

2. Change

Meaningless, Patronising and Pointless – and has cost organisations millions.

What to do – Focus on choice and when people say, for example – ‘we need to change this’ ask ‘change what, to what, to achieve what outcome?’


Many people use the term as if it is separate from themselves.

What to do – Everyone is ‘the business’ This also means there is no such thing as a ‘support’ function, or ‘back office’ – if any area of an organisation cannot directly demonstrate in financial terms how they achieve their organisation’s outcomes, then close that area down.

With my love and best wishes


Please add your confusing words, and what to do in the comments below.


2 Responses to 7 of the most used, confusing and misunderstood words in every organisation

  1. Yes, we is a good one.
    F1 drivers say ‘we’ and do they mean their mechanics, their whole team/
    Confusing culture.
    Choice over change works for me!

  2. A great post again. Failure is a horrible word. It’s all about perception. One man’s success is another man’s failure.

Leave a reply