Tuesday, March 20, 2012

L is for Language

Language....do know what it means?
One definition suggests:
any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another
Which according to the above would lead us to believe LANGUAGE is a form of COMMUNICATION.  So what is communication?
the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. 
So if I understand the definitions correctly, language enables communication which is what allows us the ability to share or pass along ideas.

As a baby we are born with no language skills and limited forms of communication, we grow into children and are taught how to express our needs/wants through verbal  requests which are rather direct and straightforward.  As we progress into young adulthood we learn the technique of manipulation, the art of  "speaking without being direct."  As adults, we refine this ability and hone our skills into an instrument with which we use at our discretion.  In the business world - this skill can make or break you.

I want to preface the following paragraphs by saying that I am NOT insinuating the business world is comprised of liars, manipulators or people set out to mislead you.  I am simply pointing out that we all know a "silver tongued devil" or two and even though we don't like to admit it, we have used our knowledge of this ability to our advantage at least once in our life.  The thing I find most fascinating in what I do each day is just how much language actually impacts the outcome.

See, in my world words are everything.  One word can have different terminology depending on what is being discussed - which is true of many languages.  A simple term like "customer" could mean a person I provide support to who simply has no impact on the information they are requesting, it could be a person I provide support to who is changing information for their customer (sometimes referred to as end user). it could be a developer or a manager who needs information based on the end result of a process.  The point I am making is that not only is a "customer" someone I support, but specifically a customer is a person who requires a different "type" of support with very different results, even if they asked the exact same question.

*This room* offers me the ability to observe  various levels of communication and I am often amazed at the inability to completely understand each other when so many words are being used to convey the same meaning.  Business processes that are affected by the use of ambiguous terms that look good on paper, but have very little impact or meaning to the person who is actually attempting to follow that process.  It reminds me a lot of a legal document - where they use 15 words to say something that could have been written in 5 and requires a degree to understand the meaning of the 15 word sentence.

I am not complaining - I LOVE to talk...I am merely making an observation on what I see today.  It reminds me of watching a play, I wonder what satirical retort will come in the next act....?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hope SPRINGS Etermal

It's spring fever.... You don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! Mark Twain

A beautiful Saturday morning with the sun breaking just across the horizon and I sit here ready to face the day.  Its an odd change for me, so many mornings this past week have found me restless and tired, struggling to move with the work day chimes "time to get up."  So much has been going on, so much as been in motion for so long that I'm not sure I can remember life outside of this carousel ride.  There are so many things that I have wanted to write over the past few days, weeks but when I sit down my brain is not ready yet, today, it is very much ready, able and willing ...

The last I wrote I was faced with a new opportunity in the journey of my career.  Fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of leaving my comfort zone plagued me daily, but the little seed of hope found a little water and a little sunshine and broke through all the dirt trying to hide it.  Like the little flowers that I nurture each day, slowly sprouting forth, opening their leaves searching for their moment in the sun...so am I.

I am a loyalist by heart, but I do not do well when I have been screwed back stabbed belittled embarrassed wronged.  Yes, I am that person who understands the political games in the corporate environment and can 'play nice with others,' but will never forget (and rarely trust) a persons motives after that point.  The biggest hurdle for me recently (despite what fears I mentioned earlier) was leaving the TEAM I have called mine for the last few years.  There is something about thinking what I am leaving behind will struggle that had me making commitments to help them this week and last.

I have juggled, struggled and walked a tight rope between then and now with my efforts only half focused on whats in front of me instead of what is behind me.  I would like to say I succeeded, but the reality is I just SURVIVED...barely.  By the time it was over tempers had flared and demands were made that I said I would complete. Now....I am done and fully able to turn my attention to the SPRING that is all around me.  Not just outdoors, where I sit and wonder when the green began covering all the branches outside my window, but also inside me where I can embrace all the beauty that comes from traveling a new path.

It won't always be sunny and there will be pot holes in the road, but when we open our eyes and our hearts to the world around us, embrace the opportunities for all they are, we grow as people.  What better time to grow then right now...spring!