Every discipline develops its own terminology. Every individual enterprise does too. This means organizational development specialists at Design Group International have some special language. 

Terminology like this can be unifying and team building. It can also be exclusive and inaccessible--a big problem if prospective or current clients cannot make sense of it.

So, here are eight terms from our lexicon. Let us know if you think them inspiring or a problem for our brand.



It is that elusive item you or your organization needs to achieve, understand or solve.

Our clients use this word too. For example:

--"It is not working."

--"We need to figure it out."

--"It can't be this hard."

We use this important and mysterious word in our little monikor:  "It begins with design."


Untying organizational knots.

In a world of digital data points and highly individualized expertise it is increasingly difficult to see the way entire systems work and develop together. And yet, it is where data points and individual expertise connect that intracted, compacted, perpetual and deeply-rooted organizational problems live and reign.

The need to untie organizational knots is what our clients mean when they say:

--"We need to gain a line of sight."

--"We are painted into a corner."

--"This is more complex than we thought."

--"We did not anticipate this dynamic."


Process design.

How we figure it out is just as important as figuring it out. Designing the process of figuring it out well can build good habits and easier untying of future organizational knots.

The need for good process design is often expressed by current and future clients as:

--"How are we going to do this?"

--"Who is going to do what and when?"

--"We need time to figure it out."

--"We don't know how to proceed."

For more on process design, download the following resource:



Why, who, what, when, where and how?

These are the six essential question of process design and strategic planning and need to be answered to create any line of sight from where organizations are to where they want to be.

They answer questions clients ask all the time:

--"Why is this important?"

--"Who is responsible and for what?"

--"What is the criteria for our success?"

--"When does this need to be completed?"

--"Where will the work take place?"

--"How are we going to proceed?"

The relationship between these questions is where organizations find themselves in knots and benefit from experienced organizational development professionals.


Next year too.

Short term actions are helpful only with a long term line of sight, a line toward an organization's intended vision and navigated toward by the lights of organizational values.

"Next year too" is what clients mean when they say:

--"We have to remain solvent."

--"We need to improve our sustainability."

If you can't see next year too, it is a sure sign you are knotted up and need to design and follow through on a process to figure it out.


Organization, enterprise.

We use the terms organization or enterprise more often than business, non-profit, ministry, service organization, or something more specific. We aren't striving to be generic, but comprehensive, learning from and drawing on what all organizations hold in common. That way we can be more certain about and then address what is unique to your specific organizational setting.

Our clients confirm our strength in this regard when they say:

--"Have you ever seen anything like this?"

--"I suppose we are just like everyone else."

--"We are the exception."



We prefer this word over "contract." We intend to build mutual commitments to accomplish a body of work with our clients. The courts of law might not distinguish between these terms, but we find that Agreement implies:


--"We concur."

--"That is what I/we will do."

Agreements with clients help to keep the work based on objectives. We find that designing the process with clients creates a shared commitment to accomplish the work, and is much more likely to result in a client who not only says thank-you, but voluntarily tells others about the clarity and solutions they achieved.


These terms are precious to us and we intend to make them mean something distinctive and excellent in the experience of our clients.


-mark l vincent

mark l vincent, design group international


fall colors, emell vee, whorled viewz,



Mark L. Vincent
Post by Mark L. Vincent
October 2, 2012
I walk alongside leaders, listening to understand their challenges, and helping them lead healthy organizations that flourish.