In the 1803 Battle of Maida, an army of 6,200 Napoleonic French prepared for battle against 5,200 allied British and Italian soldiers.
At the beginning of the battle, a commander for the allied army sent orders to “advance when the drums sound.” By the time the order reached the front lines, it had been interpreted as “advance, sounding the drums.”
Despite such a colossal miscommunication, the allies were able to fight their way to victory. But misinterpretations and miscues are often one of the greatest hindrances within teams.
Crystal clear communication is an essential ingredient of success for any organization, and in order to communicate well, there must be a shared language; with words and phrases which become the daily building blocks of an organization’s culture.
At SEI, we guard our culture vigilantly. Part of The SEI Way of doing business is not only ensuring that we share the same core values, but also that our language reinforces those values.
What kind of culture does the following terminology evoke in your mind? And more importantly, what kind of action do the following words inspire?
- It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it.
- Plan your work and work your plan.
- Just do something.