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.
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.
- How do we engage others?
- How do we engage with others?
- What structures facilitate engagement?
One word for organizations:
- Clarifies and expresses purpose.
- Defines success.
- Guides decisions.
- Evaluates progress.
- Builds momentum.
- Creates an environment for feedback. “How did we engage people last week?”
- Enables feedforward. “How will we engage people next week?”
Four ways to become a one word organization:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
Interesting that you should post that one word thought today Dan as I was sitting quietly pondering over lunch why the word “worthy” has stalked me since the New Year. It is an intriguing and enlightening word to contemplate at times in life especially when we need to conserve our own energy levels. Now I ask myself what or whom is worthy of my time, energy, compassion and even anger.
I guess worthy will bring more focus and clarity as the year gathers momentum.
Very worthy post Dan. Happy New year to you and yours 🙂
Thanks Imelda. I really like how you use the term “stalk” I think one word often finds us, if we are open.
Best wishes for a worthy year.
Dan – A great idea and an interesting post. Engage. Collaborate. Innovate. Involve. and others come to mind.
But those were not my first thoughts. Those, being framed by an article I am writing about insanely poor leadership in a few governmental organizations brought some other words to mine, ones that some call expletives and most of which are 4 letters long. They are also commonly heard cultural descriptors, said from one Dilbert character to another in his unpublished cartoons! (grin)
Too bad that those words confirm status and do not generate change; they should!
Have fun out there!
Oh, and “horses in the barn” are more often seen as cats in the pasture, when the goal is to herd them into the barn. The leadership challenges of herding cats and frogs is one that often comes to mind when I think of a few large organizations…
Thanks Dr. Scott. Love your reflection on the darker words. Frankly, there’s nothing like a good expletive to capture a thought. But, as you suggest, they may not move us into the future. 🙂 Much appreciated.
“Ask” – what a great word for you Dan. And if you ever have the need or desire to ask me to be any part of your amazing journey, I will be here to answer. And that word will be “Yes”.
As for my own word, it is “consistency”. I am focused on what I want to achieve for myself and others and I’m quite disciplined in executing on that. I just don’t need to make the ride as exciting and adventuresome for some as I make my way through that.
Thanks Alf. You continue to be a positive force in my life and in the lives of one of my clients. You sure know how to energize a guy.
Consistency is a great word. I feel real power in it. Here’s to another great year.
Dan having been a CFO in several firms and working with other staff groups and businesses, my word was Serve. Senior officers serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors and their main function is to serve the organization they work for.
Thanks Brad. Great word! It answers a lot of questions and it’s a great challenge.
Thanks for today’s One Word post. I have been using that technique as a coach and corporate manager for nearly 30 years. It’s a great way to push team mission, push personal and professional self-understanding and as a mantra for team and individual performance.
Thanks Glenn. Wow! You’re a man of experience. It’s great to read an affirmation of this idea.
“Resilience,” scares me. 🙂
My personal one word for 2016 is CELEBRATE. Love the focus to talk to the team and have a corporate emphasis.
Thanks John. Great word. I appreciate you.
My word is “INTEGRITY” without it there is no trust and without trust there is no team. In my team we are rebuilding, as in hiring all new. If we start, stay and require integrity from our self and everyone below and above we will succeed. If not we go back into the protection and defend mode. No team will survive that. Be careful, as a leader requiring this of your team there is a risk. You will be held at a standard way above what you expected and if (or when) you fail be ready for damage control.
Hi Walt. Wow! You face a wonderful opportunity and challenge. I can see the power of INTEGRITY in your context.
You better walk the talk. 🙂
Here’s to success!
My word is ACT. Take action, and move forward! No more indecisiveness!
Dan, I love your posts. Very inspirational and true. Keep going!
That’s a really great concept Dan. I’ve not thought about it in that detail but do use the concept. My word for this year is intensity!
Well written. Engaging people is always key
Great article. My word for 2016, and one that I’d like to apply to my organization is RESPECT. I think that word is valuable in personal and professional practice. The ability to step outside the box and respect your people and their skill sets (even if you don’t fully understand what they do).
And ‘leveraging energizers’ is tricky. I often find that my energetic, upstarts can often put off laggards in my organization. There is a delicate balance that must be struck in order to successfully pull off #3. Thanks again for always sharing your insight.
Great thoughts and great advice from the respondents. My word would be “empower” – it not only comes from leadership down but when team members trust one another and they’re willing to share talents/knowledge/how-to that will only add strength, collaboration and comradely.
Thought the message was good, but really enjoyed the picture.
Thank you Dr. Dan for imparting knowledge on leadership.
Your topics on leadership are very insightful and gives great guidance….. That’s a great piece worth reflection .
Thank you Professor