Chapter 3: Understanding the Basic Words of Organization

Understanding ceases on going past a misunderstood word or concept.

If a person reading a text comes to a word or phrase he doesn’t know, the words which appear thereafter may become “meaningless”, “uninteresting” and he may even become slightly unconscious, his awareness shutting down.

Example: The president of a corporation is going to give a speech at the stockholders meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow. He sent a note to Bill, his assistant, that states, “Get a copy of the speech that Joe wrote for me, proofread it and delete any pejoratives you find, add the attached updates and have the corrected copy in my hands by 8 a.m.” Bill did not know the meaning of pejoratives, yet he didn’t bother to find out that they are “words or phrases that have negative connotations, especially those that tend to belittle.” Consequently, he failed to identify and delete any pejoratives contained in the speech. Furthermore, due to the misunderstood word he encountered, it didn’t register that he was supposed to attach the updates. Bill felt groggy, so much so that he didn’t even remember to get the speech to his boss by 8 o’clock the next morning.

In other words, when Bill encountered a misunderstood word, he ceased to understand and did not fully grasp or become aware of what followed thereafter.

All this applies to a sentence, a book, a job position or a whole organization.


The difficulties of an organization in functioning or producing stem from this fact. The basic words of organization are glibly used but not generally comprehended—words like company, management, technology, duties, hat, position and policy.

Example: Marylou is a sales associate in a jewelry store. The owner of the store provided her with a policy manual when she started to work there two months ago. The manual clearly states that it is company policy for the sales associate to greet new customers as they enter the store. The manual also states that if the associate is busy with another customer, she is to tell the new customer she’ll be with him momentarily. The policy further directs the sales associate to call for the floor manager in the event that she is unable to assist the new customer within five minutes.

Unfortunately, Marylou did not fully comprehend the meaning of “policy.” Instead of adhering to the policy as “a rule by which the company conducts its affairs,” Marylou viewed policy to be merely a guideline or a goal to which the company aspires. Consequently, while busy attending to one customer, she would often ignore new customers who entered the store and she would fail to inform the manager that she couldn’t help them.

This resulted in many customers who walked in, browsed the merchandise and then left without buying anything. Sales were down 30% during the two months since Marylou was hired and no one realized that her misunderstanding of the meaning of “policy” led directly to the sharp decline in overall sales.

Vocabularies have to be increased before comprehension and communication occur and misunderstoods drop out.

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