Although we all speak our native tongue fluently, the same
cannot be said about the language we use to talk about things in relation to
the Transformation of Enterprises. Different people use different words to mean
different things at different times. This is a massive problem which makes
understanding anything anyone says at best impossible and at worst apparently
possible. People, including me, get attached to the meaning of the words we use
and defend those meanings passionately. This is totally understandable because
the meanings we attach to words is the absolute basis for our understanding
It is therefore extremely pertinent to understand how roles
communicate with other roles at the same level, between levels in the same area
and between each area. Languages correspond to the overall areas of The Market,
Strategic Planning, Projects, Users and Customers. People within those areas
can use slightly different words but they are more akin to dialects.
Recognition of these different languages and dialects is important but more
importantly is the realisation that people who operate in the various phases of
the Transformation Stack need to be able to speak at least two different
languages (if not three) and therefore also need to be able to translate
between them depending on who they are talking to or what information they are
There are five fundamental languages:
The Language of The Market - The
language used by senior executives and the board to communicate with The
Enterprise Context (Regulators, Investors, Competitors, Suppliers, Customer
Segments, Communities, Governments, Non-clients, Non Suppliers, Anti-Clients,
The Media, etc)
The Language of Strategic Planning
- The language used by senior executives and the board to formulate the
Enterprise Strategy as it relates to the Enterprise Context, and to create
Strategic Plans, Project Portfolios and Roadmaps to execute any Transformation
required to deliver the Strategy.
The Language of Projects - The
language used by all those working on Transformation projects while executing
The Language of the Users - The
language used by those operating parts of the Enterprise that Transformation is
The Language of Customers - The
Language used by those operating the business to relate to and communicate with
One thing a Framework or Ontology brings is (hopefully!) a
common and consistent language. The importance of which should not be
What Languages does your
Enterprise use for Enterprise Transformation?
Do people recognise when they
are talking a different language?
What happens when people say
“we are talking a different language”?
Are different languages
If not, how do you expect
people to be able to communicate effectively?