Home » Psychology » Common Misused/Misunderstood words in Organizations

Common Misused/Misunderstood words in Organizations

Leadership

  • Many people use this word without any context.  Those that do, often associate leadership with “micro-managing”.  However, there are different forms of leadership.  Some choose to be “servant leaders” which can be just as effective or in my experience much more effective.

Accountability

  • Many people struggle to hold themselves to account.  Instead they try to hold others to account.  It’s so much easier to “pass to buck” or blame others.

Vision

  • The problem with this word is that vision rarely comes from the true leaders of the organization and that’s exactly where it needs to come from.  Only the true leaders can explain the overall big picture.  Some people feel that the vision behind an organization or a project is a nice-to-have.  I feel it’s a necessity.  Otherwise, how are people suppose to know what they’re working towards.

Coaching

  • Many organizations are starting to adopt a coaching philosophy.  However, their understanding seems to fall short.  Coaching seems to involve “advising” and asking others “How can I help?”.  Both of those things are important but they don’t paint the entire picture.  People are the best source of solving their own problems.  A good coach can get people to do that.

Alignment

  • Getting a group of people to agree on something is not an easy task especially if it’s a large group.  To expedite the process we sometimes trick ourselves into believing that everyone is in alignment.  For instance, some people conform to groupthink to maintain group harmony.  Others converge around the viewpoint that gains the most support (i.e. Bandwagon effect).  And others gravitate to the ideas of experts of superiors (i.e. HIPPO, Highest-Paid Person’s Opinion).

Culture

  • Coming up with a list of cultural practices and listing them on the company’s Intranet site is not enough.  Cultural practices need to practiced.  That means they need to be reviewed and discussed often.  One common mistake that many organizations make is that they only share their culture with employees.  Culture needs to be shared with everyone, including contractors for example.  Otherwise those 3rd party organizations will practice their own culture which may be in conflict with yours.

Team

  • It’s easiest to place the boundary of a team around those you work closest with.  However, teams are typically larger than that.  In the context of a project with onsite and offsite resources, a team can easily exceed 50 people.  This is an important concept because when everyone works together as 1 single team (as opposed to multiple sub-teams) you’re better poised for success.

Goals

  • It’s difficult to determine what an organization’s goals are.  It requires constant reflection and the opinion/thoughts of others.  Unfortunately some organizations gravitate on a solution and work backwards without any consideration for their own goals.  The main problem with this approach is that they may end of with a solution that addresses a particular problem that they don’t even have.

Value

  • Delivering value does not have to be a grand scale.  In fact, taking that approach is highly risky.  Constantly delivering small increments is a much better way of advancing.

Performance

  • Organizations constantly seek high performance individuals and for good reason.  Unfortunately, many organizations practice the exact opposite.  When it comes to performance ratings they employ techniques like bell curves and forced rankings.  That does not incentivize people to work together.  Instead, people are looking out for themselves (and not the organization) to ensure that others don’t rise above them.
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