OED Watch Out!

Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon

Yes, it is 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 dictionarytake a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the ten 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 ten words?

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

  1. custoforce engagement — the act of delighting the customer by empowering the front-line 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/his day-to-day observable actions
  5. nonovation — an organizational rationale for not innovating due to the myriad of 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/her 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 Blogrige 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 blog post as just another attempt at humor, do me one favor. Treat these ten 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!

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6 Responses to OED Watch Out!

  1. Larry Flakne says:

    Harry, this is great. I plan to use it a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Richard Allen, MA (Oxon) says:

    Will Shakespeare would be proud of you, Harry. All are innovative and fresh – Recombobulation, in particular, deserves immediate incorporation into mainstream use. Now, about being a Guardian reader ….

  3. Bryan Zak says:

    All of us are individuals and have different ways in which we learn. This list gives me a clearer perspective of understanding the Baldrige journey. Perhaps the english language limits our comprehension. – Thank you

  4. Paul Grizzell says:

    I continue to try to use the acronym OFI in Words With Friends. I may lobby OED to accept this word as an important concept.

  5. Claire Everett says:

    A wonderful list of words we probably all wish were less useful than they are.

    I’d define voluntold slightly differently though ‘a voluntary action you’ve been forced/instructed to perform by someone with authority over you’.
    It’s been 10 years but I still vividly remember my boss sending me on a training course I didn’t want to go on and the instructor opened the session by saying “Thank you for volunteering to be here”, while I hadn’t heard the term yet, that’s the first time I can remember having been voluntold in a work setting.
    This term goes nicely with voluntell for those people on the opposite side of the interaction.

  6. Jan Lo says:

    I luvit, I luvit!

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