Management Today - Spring 2012 - (Page 8)

mt // P OW E R WO R D S Spring 2012 WITH FEELINGS Using words more thoughtfully and giving them more meaning can yield better leadership for your business. — By Chris Petersen Everyone’s familiar with the concept of magic words – words that give the speaker the ability to change the world around them. We’re also familiar with buzzwords – words that have the potential to advance new ideas and stimulate innovation. Business leaders often create mission statements that use words that summarize their goals and inspire their employees to give their best effort. In the rush to find exactly the right words, however, we can lose sight of one simple elemental truth – all words have power. Whether you’re giving a presentation to shareholders, crafting a mission statement, or simply leading an informal discussion, the words you choose to use matter. Even if they’re not considered buzzwords or magic words, the words you use can still have a powerful impact for your business. Few know this as well as John R. Dallas, Jr., chief alignment officer of Chicago-based consulting firm Hillview Partners Network. Dallas’ new book, “We Need to Have a Word,” examines the power certain highimpact words hold for business leaders, and he delves into the need for leaders to reevaluate what the words can mean. Dallas says there is fundamental differand the language for leading. Although many business leaders have learned to use certain words in very spe- WORDS ence between the language of leadership cific ways, the language for leading needs to be more dynamic and fluid. “It’s based on the notion that change is ceaseless and, therefore, language must change,” Dallas says. “What we did here over the last three years in developing the book was work to identify the best 52 words for leading I’ve learned to use at a deeper level.” Based on his experience as a president of five different companies over his career, Dallas assembled a list of words that have powerful meanings for business but aren’t necessarily deeply understood in terms of their potential impact. These words include “authenticity,” “courage,” “diversity,” “innovation,” “momentum” and “vision.” In collaboration with business philosopher Peter Koestenbaum, PhD., honorary chairman of Hillview Partners, Dallas assembled each weekly chapter while focusing on an influential individual who personifies the week’s featured key word — 52 individuals for 52 chapters. The result, according to Dallas, is a book that gives business leaders a deeper understanding of richness of words they can use every day, and how they can use them to their fullest ROI potential. Greater Empathy The most significant difference between the traditional understanding of the words covered in Dallas’ book and their deeper meanings is that the traditional and simpler usages are colder and more focused on the logical side. Dallas says this myopia is due in large part to the fact that most business leaders are men, and traditional notions of gender identification perpetuate the myth, “Men have to sound like manly men – they have to use words that sound strong,” Dallas explains. He claims strong words often mask weak businesses. This narrow view of language prompts many business leaders to use words that emphasize strength and power when most listeners might need to be reassured with more comfortable-sounding words. For small businesses working with larger companies, for example, the use of hard-edged language can put all parties ill-at-ease. “Part of fully responsible leadership,” Dallas says, “means understanding when certain words can support win-win communication, and when one or more words will destroy it.” “We know that empathy is a missioncritical element of leading people,” Dallas asserts. “Quite often, business leaders’ and political leaders’ choice of language is more for the sound of strength than the depth of understanding for individual words. “Words to define and describe softer, kinder, gentler and more human sides of business are what leaders are finally able to see, hear and think about. The collapse 8 MANAGEMENTTODAY-MAGAZINE.COM SPRING 2012 http://www.MANAGEMENTTODAY-MAGAZINE.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Management Today - Spring 2012

Management Today - Spring 2012
Millionaire Mega Toys
Power Words
Marketing Strategy
Wisdom Era
Mid-America Real Estate Group
The HT Group
Supply Chain
Carvajal Empaques
Graham Partners
Carley Foundry
Cotter Bros. Corp.
SMS Siemag
Allied Alloys
Albiasa Corp.
Columbus McKinnon
4 Guys Fire Trucks
Metalcraft of Mayville
MMIC Global
Tom James
US Pole Inc.
Kaivac Cleaning
Playworld Systems
Global Mergers
ADA Environmental Solutions
Kalahari Resorts
Genghis Grill
NewMark Merrill Companies
Rose Pest Solutions
Westgate Resorts
Marquis Alliance Energy Group
Ross Video
Daniels Electronics
Chatters Canada Ltd.
Metro Paper Industries
Special Section: Aviation
Honolulu International Airport
Edwards Jet Center
Greenpoint Technologies
Special Section: Peru Focus
Zip-Pak South America
La Viga S.A.
Special Section: Top Home Builders
Gehan Homes
Ole South Properties
The Warmington Group
Forino Corp.
Special Section: Most Promising Companies
Virtual Instruments
RGB Networks
Salient Federal Solutions
Ad Index
Last Look

Management Today - Spring 2012