The Power of a Common Language

One of the first things people notice after rolling out a set of Fundamentals™ is how quickly the specific language of the Fundamentals™ gets interwoven into their daily vocabulary.  In fact, this almost always happens within the very first week.  How does this happen and why is the language so important?  Let’s take a closer look.

An invented way of relating

Many years ago, I learned a series of communication practices called The Collaborative Way, developed by a man named Lloyd Fickett.   Most of these practices, in fact, are embedded in the Fundamentals.  Lloyd used to describe the Collaborative Way as “an invented way of relating.”  Imagine that all your employees came from different backgrounds and spoke different languages.  It would be very difficult to communicate effectively.  But if we invented a new language that we all agreed to speak when we were at work, we’d be able to communicate far more clearly and easily.  That new language is what the Fundamentals become.

When we all use the same language, we have a common understanding of precisely what we mean and what’s expected.  Having a common language also helps to keep the focus on the principle rather than allowing the exchange to dissolve into a personal conflict.  We can talk about the importance of “honoring our commitment” or “getting clear on the expectations” instead of feeling like our personal integrity is being challenged.  This helps to reduce the emotion in the situation and keeps the exchange productive.

A new lens

One of the most important benefits the Fundamentals™ provide is a lens or a framework through which to look at situations.  We begin to see a Launguage4-01-01-01problem as an opportunity to “practice blameless problem-solving” or we realize the need to “speak straight” with a colleague or to be a more “generous listener” in a challenging conversation.  The Fundamentals literally alter the way in which we see things.  This is why the repetition and consistent discussions are so important.  They serve to embed the language into our consciousness.

Of course, while the Fundamentals™ are developed and written for the work environment, most people also report their profound effect on personal relationships and personal effectiveness.  If practicing Fundamentals™ at work alters the very way we see things, it’s inevitable that it will affect the way we see things in other areas of our lives as well.  It’s pretty hard to “act with integrity” or “make quality personal” in one area without it affecting another.  And that’s a good thing.

If you’d like to learn how you can put the power of the Fundamentals to work for your organization and in your own life, just give us a call or shoot us an email.

Leave a Reply