Head (physical)

Oxford Dictionary Names 2018 Word of the Year

Every year, Oxford bestows its Word of the Year title on “a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year…” It’s a word that has “…lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.”

Sounds like quite the honour, right?

Like if you were a word, you would want to own that distinction?

It is a happy day for the Word of the Year, I presume; however, sadly enough, 2018’s word wasn’t what we as women and business owners might hope it would be.

It’s not an encouraging word.

It’s not a word that brings with it the promise of growth or positive transformation.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The 2018 Word of the Year is TOXIC.

Can you believe it? Of all the possibilities for constructive direction in this world of entrepreneurial advancement, technological opportunities, global outreach capabilities…the Word of the Year is TOXIC.

Wow. I’m stunned. I’m disappointed. And I can’t help but think that we, as engaged and capable female business owners, can turn this around for 2019.

So how did Oxford choose the Word of the Year? Primarily, it was based on internet search. There was a 45% increase in searches for the word toxic on oxforddictionaries.com[1]. Add that to noted increases in its use, in both literal and figurative manners, and you’ve got a word that saw lots of action in 2018.

It has been used to describe things such as chemicals, substances, gas, waste, algae and air—as well as intangible things like masculinity, environments, cultures and relationships.

And why would this grab the attention of a business owner like yourself? Because this should give you lots of invaluable insight into the state of mind in which your target market is operating. There is a palatable distaste for the world-at-large going on, and that burdensome level of negativity is going to show up in communications, interactions and brand choices.

I know: as a Fempreneur with a desire to influence, you’re already wondering What can I do?

You can start where you have the most power and influence: within your own business, at the heart of your own team.

Be the best correspondent you can be.

Toxicity is the result of misunderstanding, the unwillingness to relate to others, or a lack of empathy. It is bred from ignorance, and is aggravated when we shut down and refuse to communicate. Keep the conversation flowing within your business. Listen to your employees’ concerns and be transparent with them, too. When you’re all communicating freely, you can disagree with one another, but cannot deny the validity of others’ feelings or perspectives.

In a literal sense, you can reduce your business’s carbon footprint…

to rein in its toxic effect on the environment. Recycle. Conserve electricity. Start a carpool programme. Make fuel-efficient fleet choices. Offer individual and/or department incentives for energy savings. Audit processes for maximum efficiency. Get your team involved to create a cleaner work environment, then watch as the toxicity drains from your business.

Accept failure, which is inevitable in business.

In fact, it’s practically a prerequisite to growth. Adopt this belief and live it so that your team members can join you in seeking out opportunities in the midst of failure. Toxicity cannot survive in a workplace that is conditioned to always see the bright side.

Acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions of team members so they will feel positively motivated to strive for growth.

An employee who feels overlooked is all it takes to plant the seed of toxicity; and that toxicity can rapidly snake its way through the rest of the team. When you recognise even the smallest achievements, that first seed is unlikely to be planted…and even if it is, it will struggle to find fertile ground.

Correlate optimism and teamwork with success.

Whenever your business reaches a goal or experiences growth or success of any type, be sure to associate that victory with your team’s desire to avoid toxicity. What we focus on is what we achieve, and nowhere is that truer than in business.

Use the innate feminine qualities that you possess...

...(intuition, peace-making, problem-solving, communication, objectivity, etc.) to foster a business environment that is focussed on productivity and collaboration, rather than on disruption and hostility. Lead by example, using what comes most naturally to you, and toxicity will never be able to survive in your organisation.

Just imagine the impact the female business owners of the world could have if we all practiced just a few of these anti-toxicity tips.

Employees will start talking about what a great place to work you’ve got, and you will attract more highly qualified candidates. Your customers will start telling their friends about the dedication of your employees, and your customer base will grow. Other businesses will see your success, and strive to mimic what you’ve built.

And before we know it, the Word of the Year for 2019 could be something like HARMONIOUS, SUCCESS…or even PROFITABLE.

Are you committed to reducing the toxicity in your business? And do you need some help inspiring your team to rally around the changes you’re planning to make? A keynote speaker can open minds and motivate spirits. Click here to learn more about booking me as your keynote speaker.

[1] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2018


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