Four Ways to Become a One Word Organization

I’ve been practicing, “One Word,” for three years. It’s a fascinating practice that I learned from Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page.

“Ask,” is my word for 2016.

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One word for organizations:

“A mile wide and an inch deep,” might work for an ice rink, but powerful impact and deep results require narrow focus. Finding one word, or perhaps more accurately, allowing one word to find you, is a point of clarity that guides and energizes.

“Engage,” is the organizational “one word,” where I lead.

  1. How do we engage others?
  2. How do we engage with others?
  3. What structures facilitate engagement?

One word for organizations:

  1. Clarifies and expresses purpose.
  2. Defines success.
  3. Guides decisions.
  4. Evaluates progress.
  5. Builds momentum.
  6. Creates an environment for feedback. “How did we engage people last week?”
  7. Enables feedforward. “How will we engage people next week?”

Four ways to become a one word organization:

  1. Explore and define pockets of positive energy. Unsuccessful leaders spend too much time focused on things that aren’t working. Where are the pockets of positive energy in your organization? Negativity doesn’t yield positive results. What one word best describes what’s behind the pockets of positive energy? 
  2. Begin with the horses in the barn. Gather your team to discuss their individual talents, passions, and points of energy. If you mixed all that up, what one word best expresses combined passions?
  3. Leverage energizers. What behaviors do the energizers in your organization have in common? How might that translate into one word? Practice your one word by adopting the practices of your energizers.
  4. Turn nagging issues into positive aspirations. What would you like to do about repeated frustrations? Don’t fix a broken past. Build a positive future. Define and practice two or three behaviors that express your aspirational word.

What one word might give your team focus?

How might teams find one word for their organization?