The Big Picture of Business – Sayings, Meanings and Interpretations

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals ArticleThis essay uses grammar as an analogy for looking new ways at how business is conducted. Strategy development requires the mining the gold within any organization and seeking new outcomes via creative applications of ideas.

Times of crisis and economic downturn get people thinking differently about the conduct of business. Organizations say that they need to re-evaluate and get back to basics, that nothing is guaranteed. They realize that the old ways of doing business will no longer work. They seek to better themselves as professionals and to rethink the business models. Changing times require new perspectives.

For some, these are stark new approaches. This is the reality in which the small business and entrepreneurial worlds have always experienced. Welcome to the paradigms that many of us have operated under for some time.

Accepting change as a positive guiding principle, one then seeks to find, analyze and apply fresh approaches toward addressing the old problems. For many, times of crisis mandate that they think boldly and get used to doing business that way henceforth.

This essay is an exploration into the creativity, the opportunities and the potential rewards of reflecting differently upon business. Our intention and the experiences of many companies who have followed the model presented here is that organizations must now learn how to paint their own ‘big pictures’ of business, rather than focusing upon certain niches. They benefit from change, while the non-change stagnates become additional casualties.

Punctuation changed the meaning of this telegram to a business associate:
Have discovered oil on your property. Nothing but good luck to you.
Have discovered oil. On your property, nothing. But, good luck to you.

Fish is one of those rare multi-purpose words that is used as a noun, verb, adjective and adverb.

  • Let’s have fish for dinner.
  • Are you fishing for an answer?
  • This has a fishy taste.
  • Something smells fishy.

Bar has numerous meanings and is used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and preposition.

  • Raise the bar. (increased standards of quality, measurement)
  • Stand by the bar. (piece of furniture, a counter)
  • Visit the bar. (place of business where alcohol is served, nightclub)
  • Pass the bar exam. (qualification to practice in the legal profession)
  • Bar someone from doing something. (ban, prohibit, exclude or prevent)
  • Bar coding. (price verification, inventory control)
  • Bar none. (unlike any other, unsurpassed)
  • Bar in the courtroom. (railing that encloses the judge)
  • Bar bells. (weights for physical training)
  • Bars as accent materials. (used in construction)
  • Bars of music. (contents of notes and accents)
  • Barring elements together. (fasting, joining)
  • Put someone behind bars. (sentenced to jail)
  • Bars on a uniform. (metal strips, connoting military service)
  • Bars on the windows. (metal pipes, for safety and protection from intruders)

Concepts which have changed names over the years…

  • Peep show | film arcade | silent films | talkies | movies | cinema | video
  • Mexican | Chicano | Mexican-American | Hispanic
  • Soda | fountain drink | ‘coke’ | pop | soft drink | mixer | diet drink
  • Janitor | custodian | sanitation engineer
  • Washroom attendant | maid | domestic | steward
  • Housewife | homemaker | domestic engineer
  • Sheriff | marshal | constable | bobby | COP | law enforcer | peace officer
  • Militia | rangers | soldiers | battalions | regiments | army | military forces | peace keeping forces

Categories of Words and Terms

  • Anomaly – Something different, irregular, of uncertain nature, peculiar or not easily classified.
  • Contronyms – Words that have opposite meanings, depending upon usage.
  • Heteronyms – Words that are spelled identically but have different meanings when pronounced differently.
  • Oxymorons – Combination of contradictory or incongruous words…pointedly foolish.
  • Paradox – A tenet that is contrary to expectation or received opinion. Self-contradictory statement that at first seems true. Something with seemingly contradictory qualities or phrases.
  • Pleonasms – Two concepts (usually two words) that are redundant….needless repetition of an idea in a different word, phrase, or sentence.
  • Homonyms – Words pronounced alike but different in meanings, connotations or significance.
  • Synonyms – Words with the same or nearly the same meanings.
  • Antonymns – Words with opposite meanings.
  • Homograph – One of two or more words spelled alike but different in meaning or pronunciation (as the bow of a ship, a bow and arrow)

Sound similar…but different meanings…

  • Arthur – Author
  • Gorilla – Guerilla
  • Mussel – Muscle

Spelled the same…but different meanings…The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language.Homonyms – Words pronounced alike but different in meanings, connotations or significance.

  • Ant is an insect. Your aunt is a relative
  • Bat is sports equipment in baseball. A bat flies around in the dark
  • Chips are units of snack food (potato, corn). Chips are components of computers

Business Meanings Via the Perspectives of Words…..

  • To most people, the milkman brings bottles of milk products to your door. (At least, they did in the old days.) On the farms, the milkman is the one who takes cans of milk away to the dairy.
  • Marketing can be either inward or outward. Companies undergo marketing campaigns to promote products and services to potential customers. Those same consumers do their own marketing when they shop at grocery stores.
  • People define music according to their personal tastes, experiences and backgrounds. What may be entertainment to one person may be noise or objectionable content to another. Music to one’s ears is defined as what they want to hear or choose to acknowledge.
  • Service is a term that constitutes more hype than actual practice. Companies say they pride themselves on customer service. In reality, they see service as a sales vehicle or an add-on product. When customers ask for non-paid service (politeness, consideration, follow-up, manners), that’s a totally different situation, and they are often disappointed. Sadly, customer service in business is poor, declining or nonexistent, per company.
  • Change is a wonderful phenomenon that people hate and fight to their detriments. Research shows that change is 90% positive and that people and organizations change at the rate of 71% per year. Yet, out of fear, they fight, resist and are combative toward change and to those who are change agents. It is inevitable, and one should benefit from change, rather than become a victim of it.
  • When some people hear the term consultant, they run. Research shows that only 2% of all consultants are really veteran business advisors. Most consultants are vendors who sell packages of products and services, displaced executives, computer vendors or people in transition. There really is an art to quality consulting, which requires years of experience, finesse, discipline and talent to amass…few have it.
  • Futurism is seen as an esoteric term. Some say they have no control over their destiny. In reality, thoughtful planning for future eventualities enables one to prevent tragedies 85% of the time. Futurism is a series of thinking and reasoning skills, backed by planning. To deny, ignore or fight the future is foolhardy. To prepare for it means steady growth and success.
  • Diversity is a concept that encompasses ideas, cultures, philosophies and behaviors. Sadly, some people see diversity as a punishment, when associated with training. To the contrary, it is a gift because all of us are living examples of diversity.
  • Technology is a tool of the trade, not an ideology or a mantra. Some people mistakenly believe that technology creates the future, or they are willing to abdicate control of their own destinies to outside forces. Such an extreme position is not fair to technology because it sets up mechanical processes to get blamed later for thinking not done today. Thought processes need many avenues in which to be successful. Thereafter, tools of the trade (including technology) may be applied.
  • Food is a means of survival for some…a base source of nutrition, sustenance and nourishment. Food becomes a creative expression of artistry for gourmets. For many people, food equates to a reward system. Mealtimes are prime business development and networking events. Social occasions have quality food and beverage components.
  • Transportation is necessary to get people from here to there. Transportation is a vital component of the economy…conveying goods throughout intricate networks to marketplaces. Transportation is a status symbol to some people.
  • Business is a livelihood for some. It is a cut-throat game for others. It is a creative expression for still others. For most people, the team becomes an extended family. Business is really a grouping of wants, needs, objectives, outcomes and much more. The way in which priorities and stresses are juggled depends upon how successful the business becomes.
  • Communication is something that all of us utilize, yet is one of the most misdirected concepts. Many people see communication is a one-way process…it is only effective if it is two-way and continually refined. Many businesses put out messages that they want to be heard, yet do not test for effectiveness of messages received. Many organizations seek out response from audiences, and many others set roadblocks to dissenting messages getting within earshot. Communication is the barrier that causes misunderstanding, strife, unrest and productive shutdown in organizations. Depending entirely upon the mindset of human beings in charge, communication can also be the “breath of fresh air” or information source that widens opportunities for understanding, action, support and interactive participation.

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

Older Name for It Modern Name for It
Parasol Umbrella
Ice box Refrigerator
Horseless carriage Automobile
Constantinoble Istanbul
Yugoslavia Kosovo
New Amsterdam New York
French Indochina Vietnam
Pocketbook Purse
Handbag Backpack
Stove Range
Toilet Commode
Toilet paper Bathroom tissue
Tin foil Aluminum foil
Refuge receptacle Trash can, garbage can

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