Words are hard. They shouldn’t be, but they are. We each internalize a definition of a word, and more oft than not, our internal definition conflicts with someone else’s. Even ancient Greek philosophers like Epictetus faced this problem offering this advice:
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Today, let’s talk about two words I see organizations and individuals struggle with: process and efficiency.
In my experience, these are terrible words. Of course, they didn’t start as terrible. They began as respectable words. After all, wouldn’t we want efficient teams? And shouldn’t we manage our chaotic environments by adhering to some process? Perhaps. Unfortunately, their definitions vary so widely from one person to the next that I do my best to avoid them all together.