The Power of Language

by Braden Kelley

The Power of LanguageA recent survey by Doug Williams of Innovation Excellence Research found that:

  • Corporate Messages Focus Employees — 81% of respondents found their mission statement helpful in keeping them focused and aligned on what’s important to the company overall.
  • Few Firms Have Clear & Consistent Definitions — Only 29% responded that their company has a clear and consistent definition
    for the term “‘innovation’” that applies across the entire organization.
  • Talking About Innovation in Companies is Difficult — Communication about innovation within the organization is most difficult with colleagues from different departments (61% reporting difficulty) and conversations with senior leaders (63% reporting difficulty).
  • Communication Problems Have a Real Impact — When asked what issues communication problems were caused around innovation, 68% of respondents reported feelings of frustration, 57% felt employee time was wasted, and 55% reported that significant delays were experienced in moving an innovation initiative forward.
  • Language Helps Build an Innovation Culture — The survey showed strong support for investments in communications, with 63% supporting education of employees about the importance of innovation, 52% supporting the adoption of a clear, company-wide classification system for innovation initiatives, and 48% supporting the establishment of a single, company-wide definition of innovation.

Ultimately, building a common language of innovation enables alignment. It helps reduce the chance of miscommunications, missed opportunities,
and missed deadlines.

What has the power of language around innovation been in your organization?

You can now download the FREE WHITE PAPER – Five Ways to Make Your Innovation Culture Smell Better – from the Planview web site.

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, embeds innovation across the organization with innovation training, and builds B2B content marketing strategies that drive increased revenue, visibility and inbound sales leads. He has recently begun distributing Innovation eLearning and is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. He tweets from @innovate.

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  1. Language is important as you say Brian. But the big kahuna is creating the right culture. The elephant in the room is the command and control approach to managing people because it creates the worst culture and thus destroys innovation. As Louis Gerstner IBM CEO said “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game.”

    Fortunately, the right culture is the one employees like the most so if management decides to help them to have that culture, nirvana becomes reality and the elephant in the room dies.

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