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Harry Hertz


Heads Up, OED

10 suggestions for the venerable lexicon

Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 14:48

Yes, it’s time for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to pay attention! Having recently seen an article in The Guardian about the new additions to the OED, it seemed a good time to take a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the 10 words I would propose for inclusion in that venerable reference for the English language. After all, if “yolo” (you only live once) and “squee” (an exclamation expressing delight or excitement) can make it, why not my 10 words?

So, with no shame or even claim to authorship in some cases, here are my 10 proposed additions (in alphabetical order, of course):

1. Custoforce engagement: The act of delighting the customer by empowering the frontline workforce to take action on first contact with the customer, thereby improving both customer and workforce engagement.

2. Gutformation: Ignoring the use of data and analysis in favor of gut instinct as the information source for decision making

3. Laction: Missing the critical step in strategic planning of going from strategic objectives to specific action plans, thereby lacking the organizational capability to act on the strategic objectives.

4. Leaderwalk: The true values and culture of the organization as displayed by the senior leader in her day-to-day observable actions

5. Nonovation: An organizational rationale for not innovating due to myriad organizational stumbling blocks, policies, or cultural attributes that stifle the taking of intelligent risks (reinforcing the “no” in innovation)

6. Probortunity: The unity between problems and opportunity that results in looking at ways to turn problems into opportunities. This term comes from a blog post by Gerry Sandusky (not the former Penn State coach).

7. Recombobulation: The act of reorganizing and gathering one’s thoughts, allowing a person time and space to reestablish his composure. I first came across this word in the physical recombobulation zone at Milwaukee Airport in the area that is just beyond the security checkpoint.

8. Stratovation: A mechanism for encouraging innovation and making sure successful outcomes of innovation efforts are hardwired to the strategic planning and thinking of an organization. I introduced this term in an earlier post.

9. Sucflushion planning: When good organizations discard all their senior-leader succession plans and leadership-development successes, and bring in a new senior leader from outside the organization, who then disrupts all that is good about the organization and its culture

10. Voluntold: When a manager or leader helps an employee understand the wisdom of doing something that the supervisor thinks is good for the company (and the employee). I first heard this term from Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA.

Now, before you dismiss this post as just another attempt at humor, do me one favor. Treat these 10 words as an organizational self-assessment tool. How many of the good words are characteristics of your organization? How many of the detrimental words are practiced regularly by your organization? Are there successes you should build on? Is there some action planning that comes out of your self-assessment?

Please let me know.

First published Oct. 11, 2016, on the Blogrige.


About The Author

Harry Hertz’s picture

Harry Hertz

Harry Hertz retired in June 2013 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where he had served as director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program since 1995. For more than 15 years he was the primary architect of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, responsible for expansion of the Baldrige Program and Award to healthcare, education, and nonprofits, including government. Hertz serves on the advisory group for VHA’s Center for Applied Healthcare Studies, and on the adjunct faculty of American University. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, and a Ph.D. from M.I.T.