Language, Literature, and Culture Formation

In his acclaimed work Built to Last, Jim Collins described the culture of “visionary companies.” Collins observed four common characteristics, admittedly cult-like, in the cultures: Fervently held ideology: All team members are expected to believe strongly in the company ideology. Indoctrination: The people are continually taught the essential beliefs and values of the company. Tightness […]

3 Steps in a Language Audit

When we lived in Miami, several times my wife, Kaye, was asked in Spanish, “Como se llama?” which means, “What is your name?” Since she knows a little Spanish, she responded appropriately, “Kaye.” If you know Spanish at all, you know that “Kaye” sounds like “Que,” and that “Que” means “What?” So the person would […]

The Myth of Insider Language

The biggest myth of insider language is that there is really no such thing as insider language. “Insider language” will inevitably become outside language that everyone hears—meaning, it does not stay insider language. If it did, the term never would have been coined because no one on the outside would have heard the language that […]

Leadership and Language

Wise leaders understand the importance of words. They grasp the importance of language in describing the culture of the organization and the direction she is headed. But the role of a leader in relationship to language does not end when the doctrinal statement is finalized. It does not end when the mission and values are […]