More and more I find the role of the leader is to discover or synthesize simple, descriptive — immediately understandable — terms and phrases to weave critical concepts into the fabric of the organization’s speech.
A couple of today’s syntheses:
1. Encode encyclopedic knowledge, big ideas, and essential questions for later rediscovery — via contextualized concept images.
2. Avoid provinciality of thinking, in space & time, large & small scale.
The phrases should be concise, precise, and descriptive. They are initially explained within a rich context, and then they serve as bookmarks in that context for later reference. The above are imperatives. They may also be declarative or rhetorically interrogative.
As time goes on, the phrases will be continuously recontextualized to serve ever-new purposes. Some phrases may die in place (perhaps mounted to the wall) — either because they could not be recontextualized (probably because they’re ambiguous) or no effort was made to do so. Others will be misinterpreted by those who were not present for the original instantiation and have not yet been initiated. Or the phrases may ultimately be deliberately reinterpreted based on new knowledge or ulterior motives.
Some phrases can be recontextualized indefinitely, despite changes in weather, mood, fashion, politics, or technology. They represent enduring understandings well-stated.