“Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies – a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world”
Every company has their own language. What I mean by this is that each organization, over time, will establish their own terminology, slang and acronyms for what happens in their business. I have been doing some work recently with a company that has lots of words that mean one thing to them, but nothing to those who are outside of the company. The other day they shared a job description of a position they are sourcing and as I read the job description, I couldn’t understand what the real work was to be done because it was so full of acronyms that I would have needed their internal acronym dictionary to translate what they meant. The same thing can be seen and heard in the resumes and interviews of people who have worked for the same company for many years. They describe themselves and their experiences in the language of the organization and the person on the other end doesn’t stop them to ask what these things mean. They just stop listening to them like they would anyone who was speaking a foreign language they couldn’t decipher. It’s interesting how organizations get to this place. Some form of familiarity and internal self-importance develops that allows them (most times from the leadership) to develop this personal language. What is wrong with this, you might ask, as you read this, thinking about the familiar terms within your organization? There is nothing wrong with it per se, other than it can be very alienating to new people who join the business or change groups within the company.
There are many organizations who don’t realize that this hurdle can be a big one for initial success of people and can be an early warning sign of becoming a closed and unwelcoming culture who is also becoming too internally self-focused versus customer and external market-focused. We have an example of this even in the Bible when the people of Babylon felt that they were becoming so important that they said among themselves, “Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies – a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world”. And we know the rest of the story about what happens when God sees this self-aggrandizing, God-independent attitude. Today, think about the attitude and words that you use with others on the job. Are they inclusive, welcoming, humble and open? Or, is the attitude of I/we are more important than you/others and the words used have the other person sitting across the desk or reading the email, thinking to themselves, “do I really belong and am I welcomed here?” As those who are striving for our purpose to be fulfilled in our work, let’s not be the ones that help build the towers of babble, but instead be ones who others see as people with arms wide open and words of caring, and people there to help others be better in their work and lives. Never forget that others are always watching…and listening.
Reference: Genesis 11:4 (New Living Testament)