We think we know what we write and talk about. But when I put all my posts into Wordle what came up was a surprise. Wordle is a clever piece of software that analyzed all of my blog posts, counted the times I used each word, and then made a word cloud out of the results. The bigger the word the more times I used it in the posts.
Knowledge and conversation are large in the cloud, as I would have expected – I write about conversation producing knowledge. But change was, was a surprise, I don’t think of myself as writing about change management, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do see change as the end product of insightful conversations. “To change the organization, change the conversation” is a Peter Block quote I find myself saying a lot.
Another surprise was that employees was large. Sometimes the word conversation is thought of as managers speaking to employees. But often in these posts I am advocating for conversations that include employees in the thinking and sensemaking – conversations with and between employees. It always troubles me that we don’t have a word that includes both employees and managers. Of course managers are employees, but when the term is used in most writing it references only those who are at the frontline. Maybe in the future, organizational citizen will appear in large type.
Of course group is prominent because as important as one-to-one conversations are, it is the public conversations we have that change the culture – public in the sense that we speak in settings where others will hold us accountable for what we say. I searched the word cloud for public and didn’t see it – so I need write more about that aspect of conversation.
The word learning is prominent as it should be. Knowledge sharing and knowledge creation are both acts of learning.
So in spite of my surprises, I think it is an accurate portrayal of what I write about in this blog.