Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!

Creating a Common Language

February 9, 2021

Have you ever tried to communicate with someone who speaks a different language than you?

If you have, you know how frustrating it can be and how easy it is to misunderstand or to be misunderstood. Within our organizations or our teams, it’s also important that we speak the same language. We may all be speaking English, but are we really understanding each other?

Whether your team is reading the same book, attending the same retreat, listening to the same podcast, or participating in the same training, they are sharing an experience. They are not only learning about the same thing, but they are also developing a common language around what they are learning. They are processing the same words and the same ideas in the same framework. This allows them to communicate with one another more effectively and connect what they have learned to everyday experiences in the workplace.

At ADDO, we have a common language around new ideas or fresh perspectives in the work we’re doing. We call these lightbulb moments. Not only is it a goal for our individual team members to experience lightbulb moments for themselves, but it’s also one of our team’s collective goals to create lightbulb moments for the people we serve. 

We initially created the courses for 8 Essential Exchanges and The Lens this past year in order to help individuals and groups take these books to a deeper level. Our focus was on promoting the value of the content—because we believe content is incredibly valuable. But what might be equally as important is that both courses provide an opportunity for a group of team members to share an experience and learn about the same things at the same time. Both courses give a group of individuals a common language around things like vision, culture, obstacles, and profit—providing every member of the team a way to meaningfully contribute to conversations about these important topics. Here’s my question for you today:

Have you intentionally helped the people you lead create a common language?

As a leader, you may feel like your list for how best to lead your team is a mile long, but this is an easy thing to add to your list because it’s simply a happy side effect of intentional team development. Here are some examples of things you could do depending on the nature of your team:

You and your spouse could read a parenting book together, so you are able to grow together as you connect your own experiences with your children to what you are learning.

Every member of your sales team—from the senior-most sales associate to the newest member of your team—could attend the same training seminar, so you all could apply the same techniques to your current practice and generate productive discussions around what’s working and what’s not.

You are leading a small group of individuals at church who have mentioned a desire to grow in evangelism, so you could work through the same book together and even practice sharing the gospel with one another. This provides a way for you to talk about your experiences and helps you encourage one another to grow.

If you are leading a team and are already working to intentionally develop your team and create a common language, keep it up! But if you aren’t and are looking for a place to start, I would love for you to check out my books and courses: 8 Essential Exchanges and The Lens.

Shared experience combined with a common language unifies a team, clarifies communication, and paves the way for your team to leave a lasting impact.


Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!