It may date back to the Middle Ages, but the word “culture” was top-of-mind last year, according to Merriam-Webster. The renowned publisher gave the word the preeminent spot on its 2014 Words of the Year list. Compiled by analyzing top lookups at Merriam-Webster.com, the list shows “culture” to have had the greatest increase when compared to the previous year. But, like the word itself, the reason for the 15 percent spike in lookups is not clear-cut.
Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, likens the word “culture” to a chameleon. “When you put it next to another word, it means something very different,” he said, citing consumer culture, culture of transparency and winning culture as just a few examples. And, he said that use of the word to describe the typical habits, attitudes and behaviors of a group is driving the volume of searches.
Business leaders should pay particular attention to the increased interest in this word since an organization’s culture helps drive employee engagement. This, in turn, drives business results.
Think about your own company’s culture. Does it empower people? Challenge them to excel by achieving stretch goals? Is it an open culture that promotes communication and opportunities? The answers to these questions can move you and your leadership to create a roadmap that will help shape future success, and make “culture” your organization’s word for 2015.
Leave a comment to let us know what word describes your organization’s culture.