Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Not Still Spelled "Busy-ness" for a Reason

It was a good idea gone bad. "Let's call it 'busy-ness'," they said, "because that's what we want people to be at work - busy."

And so it was for about 200 years until, around the 14th century, some bosses started realizing that being "busy" wasn't exactly what they were looking for from their underlings. True, they did want diligence, but it had become apparent that what their minions diligently worked on made a huge difference in the profitability of the company. Who knew?!

So with this subtle, but powerful, distinction now understood, a similarly subtle, but maybe not as meaningful spelling change was agreed upon. The "y" was dropped, and an "i" was put in its place, and the word "business" was born! (At least that's the story that I made up about it.)

The problem, though, is that so many people are still so busy being busy, that they haven't stopped to read the memo.

So for the record, there is a difference between doing 'stuff' and getting stuff done. There is a difference between driving to work and driving key business results. And there is a difference between the busy-ness of work and the work of business.

Take a moment and review this with someone you're mentoring, would you please? It is a subtle, but powerful, distinction that everyone deserves to understand.

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