I’ve always wanted to go to a place where you have to know a secret knock and pass phrase to get in. You know, “Open Sesame” or something like that.
The allure is having to know the secret phrase. We all love knowing something others don’t. There’s comfort in it. There’s unity among those who know.
Shared language is a powerful thing. I’m a huge fan of developing memorable and repeatable phrases: things that stick with you for a while.
Even here on 3QL, I have a few ideas that I cover repeatedly:
- The Three Questions
- The Horizon of Possibility
- Lessons from the Farm
- The Redundancy of Leadership
- Lessons from the Big Chair
If you’ve been with me for a while, you probably recognize those phrases. Sometimes, even in conversation, they will come up and we will nod knowingly because we both understand them. If you hear me say something about the “the three questions”, you know what I’m talking about.
But if you’re new here, those phrases don’t have the same power. They are just a collection of words with your own assigned meaning.
That’s why, in leadership, it pays to create shared language. Leadership requires the casting of a compelling vision, and shared language helps keep that vision fresh.
What shared language are you using in your context? Is there anything you’re saying that prepares those you lead for action? How can you leverage shared language to your benefit?
One last thought: never assume shared language automatically means shared definitions. Sometimes we “fake it ’til we make it” to create the appearance of understanding. But your job as a leader is to continually and constantly cast the vision, to articulate the shared definition, and to help everyone get on the same page.
It’s not easy, but it’s imperative. Lean into shared language today!