Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

heidi-de-wolf's picture

The belief in outdated metaphors

By Heidi De Wolf on May 9, 2022

All these are engrained into our vocabulary, but should be banished from the workplace:

'Knowledge is Power' - replace it with 'Knowledge Sharing is Power'

'Don't reinvent the Wheel' - If humans hadn't reinvented it we would still be relying on stone-carved wheels

'Every man and his dog wants input into a decision' - It is called 'genuine engagement', 'customer feedback', 'co-creation' and 'crowd-sourcing'

'Lead, follow or get out of the way' - so where is there room for constructive challenge of things that would benefit from being done differently to create better efficiencies

'Trust has to be earned' - replace it with 'Distrust has to be earned'

Know of any others that should be banished?

You need to register in order to submit a comment.

heidi-de-wolf's picture

Here's one I love which definately not outdated and is very apt in relation to organisational cultures:

'No Snowflake is an Avalanche ever feels Responsible.' - Voltaire

heidi-de-wolf's picture

Thank you for your comments and contributions!

Perry - I'm a big fan of the 'Pay It Forward' movement, which embraces giving without expectation of a return gesture. It is very liberating.

Kori - Great examples. It is less about time and more about commitment and engagement, so really like the 'People create impact'.

It would be great to receive some cultural diverse examples.

kori-joneson_1's picture

Agree completely with you here Heidi! Words/phrases and the meanings we add to them definitely have power in shaping our beliefs and actions.

How about these two:

"Time is money." - replace with "people create impact" or "innovation spurs growth"

"Do more with less." - I'm all for efficiency, but this shouldn't be taken to the extreme and become an inhibitor as it so often does. How about "do more with the right resources, systems, and support," or something along this line.

These sayings are somewhat U.S and/or Western centric. Can anyone else share from a different culture perspective similar or different sayings that they believe are archaic and are inhibiting adaptability?

keith-gulliver's picture

Hi Heidi - yes I agree the language we use is so important. I like the way you have adjusted the examples!


perry-timms_1's picture

Heidi thank you for sharing something I've extolled for a while. Knowledge sharing IS power. The more knowledge we share, the more powerful and able we all become. The greatest of leaders in history were also the greatest givers. Givers of their wisdom, energy, belief, trust, dynamism, vulnerability. All of your cliches are leaders suffering from a delusion of importance and a mistrust of people. True leaders who share generate dedication, loyalty, drive, determination, ingenuity and passion. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here in leading us to better things.