Four years ago, when we moved into the house that we currently live in, we had one of the rooms get fixed up. At the time, whenever we told our kids to go into the room, we called it the “cuarto nuevo” (our kids speak Spanish as their first language), which means “new room”.
I was in the room yesterday, and I heard one of my kids call it by its name. I found myself thinking, “This room is four years old! Why do we still call it the ‘new room'”?
The reality is that with all things, change happens over time. In the case of words, either the object they were meant to describe changes over time (so a different word needs to be picked), or the object stays the same, while the meaning of the word changes (again, a different word needs to be picked).
Why is this important? It’s important because all of us tend to stay accustomed to the way things are without thinking about how an outsider might perceive them.
If someone walks into my house, sees the room and hears us call it the “new room”, they will be confused, because there is nothing new about the room! The word does not match their reality.
In business, the church, and other organizations, we must constantly review and analyze our words, processes, and systems, making sure that what we say and do matches reality. We must constantly seek the input of the newcomer in order to make sure that their perceptions about us match up to who we believe we are.
If not, there are changes to be made.