What's in a name?

Little unwritten rule in group facilitation: do not interrupt a group conversation abruptly.

Confession: I broke it today!

The Story: I have been running a couple of Story Circles with a company who have had significant staff churn in the last year or so. We've been using the Story Circles as a way of exploring the problem. After two circles and heaps of stories about the company's history, its founders, mergers and acquisitions, the experience of staff around leadership and the aspects of the business that are invitations for staff to stay, I realised that I did not hear a single story of why the company has the acronym name it has.

I could not help but interrupt the conversation and ask, "What does your name stand for?" What happened next stunned me … silence and blank stares, until someone piped up and offered an unabbreviated version of the name (that wasn't convincing in its accuracy).

The title of a Story is of vital importance in relation to the narrative. The same must then apply, in my mind, to companies and their name. It's no wonder that staff become disenchanted with their employer when it becomes so difficult to remember the meaning and stories that informed the decision of how to name the entity.

This is why I believe companies should not have acronyms as a name – it is rare that acronym embodies a story.

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