By Terry Starbucker via   Article

The Most Important Word

“When leaders want to know how their team building is doing, they just need to listen to their teammates pass information down through the ranks.

In fact, there is a specific ‘tell’ that comes down to the use of a single word. It boils down to this:   ‘We’, or ‘They’.

If your teammate uses ‘They’, as in, ‘THEY are asking us to do this’, or ‘THEY are putting in new policies and procedures’, or the even more telling ‘There THEY go again’, then your team building isn’t going very well.

On the contrary, if they are using ‘We’, as in ‘Here’s why WE need to do this’, or ‘WE need to operate under these new policies and procedures’, then you know you are making progress.

… We bought a cable company back in 2003 that had been part of a much larger company.   The folks in the field were used to having things dictated to them from ‘corporate’  – the main office that was thousands of miles away.

So, when we came in as the new ‘corporate’, and started to make changes, guess how they were passed down by the field folks?

‘THEY are changing this’.  In this instance, ‘They’ really meant ‘those no names from a faraway place that I have absolutely no connecton with, or care to have a connection with, because the no names don’t care to connect with me’.”


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