Pontification

Stay with me on this one…Smile

This word surprised me and made me snicker. Our meaning for this:

to speak or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way

Webster

is right up there with the role of the Pope:

the state, office, or term of office of a pontiff

In fact it turns out you can be ELECTED to pontificate!

It is good to be the king (but maybe better to be the Pope).

I don’t need to get very far into this to make the connection to change management. When do we have pontification with CM?

  1. Practitioners
    I have a special pontification warning in my head (I hope).
    Some other practitioners I have seen do not have that signal. So they go on and on and on. I suppose that might signal (or, to be fair, represent) empathy. Although it is a little hard to be empathetic if you are talking all the time (empathy is about LISTENING). I have never thought pontification to be a good thing. I think CM as a profession suffers from some seriously bad group think.
    Pontification is the last thing we need.
  2. Leaders
    When it comes to change, apologies leaders for this dig, it seems like leaders are out to one up everyone with their knowledge. This is actually worse than the practitioner group think in that the leaders tend to parrot what they have heard or read.
    So you get pontification with no context. (…not that pontification EVER has much context).
  3. Anyone enamored with a favorite methodology
    (for some, enamored is exactly the correct word).
    On and on they go about how THIS particular approach can SPEED CHANGE, enable people, empower the organization and spread change fairy dust on the world!
  4. Gurus
    Same as the last one except, for some reason, people actually stop to listen.
  5. Trainers
    They often like to listen to their own voice. Actually maybe, anyone who pontificates, likes to listen to their own voice.
    Trainers are the smart ones- they get paid for this.

The next time you feel like you somehow got elected to talk and you are right up there in significance with the pope, take a breath and question whether you are pontificating. Everyone around you knows you aren’t the pope (and shouldn’t be going on and on).

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