When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less. – Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass
When we set out to write Mastering the Unpredictable, we faced a challenge familiar to all groups of people with strong opinions. We had very very specific points to make, but often said the same thing different ways, or different things similarly. So we set out a vocabulary of specific terms of art to use in explaining the ideas in the book. It was not that we had prior agreement on the terms, but rather simply needed a set of consistent terms, so that we could make clear the differences of our positions.
It occurred to me that as a blog is a discussion, it would benefit similarly from set of definitions of terms. So I have added a new page to this blog: a glossary page. It is list of terms and definitions prepared for the new book “Mastering the Unpredictable“. I have reproduced it here and make it available under a Creative Commons “share-alike” license so feel free to copy from it if you desire.
I don’t believe in “universal glossaries”. It would be nice to say that the definitions included in this glossary are the real and true definitions for everyone and every situation, but that is not possible. Each group of people who self-select to participate in particular discussion topic will come to agreement on certain concepts, and adopt labels for those concepts: jargon. I, personally, am mostly interested in how the individuals within groups of people work together, and how organization work successfully together. So I have chosen terms to support that discussion. I can’t claim that these terms are useful for other discussions on other blogs.
I also can not be sure that these terms will remain the same over time, so I hope to maintain it by including new terms or changing existing terms as I see the need.
It occurred to me that every blog should probably have a glossary that guides the discussion on that site. I would encourage every blogger to do this. I am mindful, however, that I have one here only because I was able to re-purpose an existing glossary. Still, I would like to encourage every blogger to think about making a page for terms and definitions. In many cases, just a few definitions would help. That is why today’s plea is: For Each Blog; a Glossary — Please.