Your lexicon is like your fingerprints.

Everyone has a “lexicon.” It is simply the set of words (and thus concepts} regularly used. That implies that there is a much larger set of words or concepts not used.  It labels the quality and the workings of your mind. It labels your predispositions, your beliefs, and your prejudices.

Just as you select certain clothes and not others, you select certain terms for your lexicon and not others.

So a “lexicon” is important stuff.  It’s a part of your everyday vitals.  It tells the world who you are.

Some examples could be useful.

Leaders avoid phrases like “should have,” or “ought to have.” Those expressions put the focus on the past. The past is over. Unless you are a historian, it’s enough to have the important details about what was accomplished – or not. Talk about it adds little or nothing.

For leaders, admitting into your lexicon the notion that people (or organizations) deserve this or that would be a mistake. It’s a pop psych notion that may provide a useful rationalization for buying cosmetics, or a new car. What people “deserve” is what their competencies bring to them personally. Eliminate “deserve” from your thinking, or you can lose.

Plausible explanations of why something wasn’t done (or something untoward was done) become excuses. Make a list of excuses that have become popular in order to forbid their use next time.

Your reputation is something others won’t permit you to participate directly in forming or remodeling. It is concocted. But you need to know what it is. It will either further your cause, or impede it. Manage what you mean to other people.

Accomplishment, execution, implementation are key concepts in your lexicon. Let them flavor all of your perceptions and communication.

DO NOT celebrate mediocre performance. If you do, that’s what you will get. Celebrations are warm and fuzzy. But they do not increase or enhance competence.

DO NOT reward people for doing what they agreed to do. Take the position that their paychecks are intended as down payments on their value to the organization next year and five years from now.

Never get deluded by talk about THE problem. There is no such thing. People have the problems they say they have. Your question: Whose problem is this?

In the film Star Wars, Yoda reacts sharply to young Luke Skywalker’s use of TRY: “There is no TRY! There is only DO!” Replace “try” with “do.”

Clean up your act first. Your communication – inbound or outbound – reveals your mind. Get that right first. The rest will follow.

– Lee Thayer