Getting Ahead in Your Career with Language

life in a day

 (Photo credit: chennn)

With mobile phones, social media, and text-speak for virtual communication more pervasive than ever, the number of face-to-face conversations has declined. Despite the fact that we are more “connected” than at any other time, our ability to connect effectively on a human level is diminishing. Add to that different generations, opinions, and personalities in the workplace, and it can start to feel like we’re all speaking a different language.

Just as millennials have their shorthands for text correspondence, such as LOL, OMG, and YOLO, the business world has its own set of shorthands for business correspondence (COB, TBD, ETA, ASAP, etc.) and it’s not uncommon to see the two coincide. A business lexicon cocreated by Ken Blanchard is making its way into the mash-up of common business and text lingo. Backed by research, the language is centered on Blanchard’s Situational Leadership® II (SLII®) development model. In the same way that acronyms are used by pop culture and the business world, the SLII vernacular provides shortcuts in communication to save time. The difference is that SLII provides a common, universal language across cultures and generations to help people understand each other and work better together.

In the SLII language, the terms D1, D2, D3, and D4 are used to describe an individual’s development level with a new undertaking. The objective for the leader is to help the individual move from novice (D1) to expert (D4) as quickly as possible, by being able to diagnose his or her development level and then use the appropriate leadership style—described by the terms S1, S2, S3, and S4—that matches the individual’s needs.

After 35 years of client work in more than 30 countries, Blanchard has seen the results bear out. SLII gets leaders, team members, and entire organizations to speak the same language. In organizations that use the lexicon, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear someone share with coworkers that he or she just moved to D2. Or for a team member to tell his boss he needs an S3 from her.

“It creates clarity in communication. It’s a quick and safe way to identify and communicate where an individual is developmentally and emotionally, and what’s needed to move past the roadblock on to being productive and feeling good about it,” says Scott Blanchard, Executive Vice President and Principal of The Ken Blanchard Companies®. “It’s a win-win for the individual and the organization.”

Traditionally, to bring the SLII concepts into an organization, leaders would attend a workshop to learn the model, with the option to go back and teach it to their work teams. With the upcoming release of The SLII Experience, leaders learn the content quickly and practice slowly over time. Time in the classroom is spent in a quick flow of activities that takes leaders to the edge of their comfort zones practicing the skills they’ve learned. Managers leave the experience with the ability to diagnose development levels on the fly to be more effective leaders.

After class, the tools and content used throughout the experience are available for reinforcement through an online learning portal. The learning portal is also accessible to the leader’s work team so they too can learn the model. This not only takes the pressure off the leader to teach them the language of SLII but it also creates buzz and gets the whole team speaking it quickly. It creates connection and more effective communication among whole teams, helping people understand each other, allowing for more time to focus on productive activities that benefit the individual and the organization.

From: Ken Blanchard Companies

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