Is a salad still a salad if globs of creamy dressing are poured over chunks of cheese and cuts of fried chicken? (Oh, and let’s throw some bacon bits on top, too.)

By name, it’s probably still a salad. But it certainly disqualifies itself from delivering much value to the body. But I like to play this trick: “Hey,” I think. “I’m eating a salad. Therefore, I’ll be healthier.”

The faux-salad approach of not getting the value you think you’re getting shows up in other parts of life, too:

  • Collaborative team meetings aren’t collaborative just because multiple functions of the organization are represented. By definition, the act of collaboration has to occur for it to be considered such.
  • Saying we’re a values- or principles-based organization may feel good when people say it, but such branding doesn’t get the company any closer to demonstrating their values until leadership walks the talk.
  • Declaring “people are our greatest asset” doesn’t automatically mean people are valued. Where a company spends its money tells you what the organization values.

When is a salad no longer a salad? When the ingredients don’t accomplish what the name of the menu item implies we’ll receive as value.

The names we give things can create the illusion that we’re doing something good or productive. It’s worth asking the team, therefore: Are the labels we put on our meetings a true reflection of what we’re doing in our meetings?

How Defining ‘Team’ Can Create Psychological Safety

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