In a 2016 article in The Guardian, there is a discussion of new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Soon after reading that, I took advantage of the opportunity in a Blogrige post to propose some new words for a leadership/management lexicon.
As luck would have it, I recently came across a 2021 article about 455 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Much has changed in recent years, so I felt it necessary to add another ten words to my lexicon. If Merriam-Webster can now define amirite to mean "Am I right?" and dad bod can be defined as "a typical, slightly overweight father," shouldn't I also add words to my lexicon?
Ten New Words
So with a great sense of pride and my tongue in my cheek, I hereby propose ten new words (in alphabetical order, of course) for your careful consideration:
the inflammatory communication that results when words are not well chosen in a management or leadership message to employees. This type of communication can also occur when communications are too infrequent or are contradictory. Combustication is a greater problem when people do not interact face-to-face for lengthy periods of time and/or during times of heightened overall anxiety.
the act of sustaining operations during a time of great disruption. This is particularly significant when employee, customer, and supply network interactions are knocked off-kilter.
using a crisis as an opportunity to innovate and gain a sustainable benefit or advantage
behavior that demonstrates that organizational ethical standards are exemplary on paper only, with senior leaders demonstrating lower standards in their actions
a lack of workforce commitment and engagement caused by a hybrid work environment without a culture that is carefully crafted to be inclusive of remote and on-site contributors (employees and volunteers)
when senior leaders, middle managers, and line managers do not operate in concert. This situation in exacerbated in times when face-to-face communication is difficult or not possible.
the reputation your organization establishes through use of consistent, repeatable processes that deliver quality goods and services. A negative repeputation results from inconsistent processes that deliver an inconsistent quality of goods and services. A positive repeputation results from systematic processes that result in high-quality goods and services that delight customers.
restitution (not Noah's definition)
a day of vacation and rest declared by an organization's leaders after a period of intense stress and work
an organizational leadership system and culture that result in the hiring, engagement, and retention of a diverse and inclusive workforce committed to the organization's mission and vision
giving excuses when negative trends in key metrics are ignored or explained away, rather than performing root cause analysis and developing improvement goals and actions
Do Me One Favor
As with my prior set of new words, before you dismiss this blog post as just another poor attempt at humor, do me one favor: Treat these ten words as a simple organizational self-assessment tool—as some important Baldrige concepts reduced to a ten-word instrument for examining your organization.
How many of the words characterize role-model practices in your organization?
How many of the words indicate opportunities for improvement in your organization?
Do these words help you see organizational successes you should build on?
Could some action planning come out of your self-assessment using these words?
Please let me know!
Baldrige Excellence Framework®
The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.
I am Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon, and Director Emeritus of the Baldrige Program. I joined the Program in 1992 after a decade in management in the analytical chemistry and chemical sciences...