Getting to the Root of Nomenclature

November 5, 2012

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This was Shakespeare’s way of telling us that what matters is what something is, not what it is called. Boy, would Shakespeare love today’s nomenclature. Today, we spend an inordinate amount of time arguing over shared concepts just because we are using different terms to describe the same thing.

Consider the term “development” of a decade ago — career development or work force development is now referenced by the term “readiness.” Often you see the trifecta — career, work, and life readiness. And yesterday’s reference to “soft skills” seems remarkably similar to today’s “noncognitive skills.” A rose by any other name . . .

I was reading Expanding the Leadership Equation by Ellen Van Velsor, PhD, and Joel Wright, and it clearly illustrates how similar concepts under new headings can be seen as “new work.” But there are timeless human qualities that are essential to “readiness” no matter the decade.

For example, we look at today’s contemporary competencies compared to yesterday’s desired skills and find, in fact, two major abilities endure — self motivation/discipline and effective communication. It is anticipated some of today’s competencies will, in fact, endure in another decade — adaptability and agility. At the same time, it is expected we will still see the need to advance self-motivation/discipline and effective communication into the next decade. A rose by any other name
. . . and in any time!

Regardless of your affection for any particular term based on your generation, professional affiliation, or popular culture, it is my hope we will focus on what matters — what it is and how we add value to the acquisition of such skills and competencies. A rose, indeed.

Photo courtesy of Happy Hollow Children's Camp in Nashville, Indiana