Thursday, October 18, 2012


I love the written word. It is my favorite medium for communication. In a book, I can pause, wind it back, read it again and again. I can put it down for weeks, or spend an entire weekend, book in hand.  And then there's Twitter --  challenging you to choose wisely if you want to craft something brilliant in its tiny box.  

And in work, it allows me to be connected to many people while giving me the space and peace I need. Or causes me to work many hours outside the office since email is always at hand. 

I am no brilliant writer, but I have been told I do not fully comprehend how persuasive or influential I can be in my writing, that it's something I need to be careful of since not all of my examples are positive. I love the idea of the pen as a sword, parry, swish, stab, slice, it's all there.  Writing can be as intricate as the footwork of a swashbuckler or as cutting as the heavy blade of a soldier rushing into battle. 

There is the charge that I rely too heavily on email and there are hopefully signs that I'm attempting to practice the other forms of communication, but that's not what this post is about, I've talked about that at length before.

No, today I saw something that bugged me and has stayed with me all day to the point that I finally had to get it out.  In written form, of course..

I'm not sure how to describe it (I really am good with words, aren't I?), no seriously, I don't want to be too specific because I want to talk about the essence, not the application. 

Ok, so let's say it was like an introductory page on a website for a department I work with. That's good enough. It was a fancy to-do, large stock images to multi-hued hands coming together to create something better than the sum, there was a photo of the earth, one or two more slides, probably a lone flower or a mountain range or something. 

Nice, pleasant. 

Unintentional. Inoffensive. 

Fine, whatever.

But it was the words on one of the slides. Five statements about what they did.  Almost like a mission statement.  

Nice.  Pleasant.

Except for what it said first...

It didn't say "we do" or "we're serious about" or "here's our commitment to you".

You know what it said?

"We are tasked with..."

If you've been around me long enough, you'll hear me say things like "We're all in customer service" or "Everything is marketing." 



That does not instill confidence. That does not say you are living your mission or values. That tells me it's been handed down to you, you've accepted it, but you're not owning it. 

Nice, pleasant.


Um, wrong. Offensive. 

Love it and live it. If you can't, don't take it halfway. 

I don't know if this would have rubbed me so wrong even a few days ago, but I've been inspired to create a mission or theme for one of my teams for 2013. I'm asking them to join in, to be a part of it. If I can't sell it, then it's not worth doing. 

But the last thing I will do is take a mission, value, theme, whatever, and task it. 
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