Skip to content

Cicero’s Constitutiones


NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics We haven’t had a good semantics posting here in a while and the Center for Adaptive Solutions was birthed from a semantics group, so let’s have at it, shall we?

Business discussions often get muddled and muddied around semantics. This is especially true when different groups or divisions get together to decide things. Some kind of thesaurus results and usually only after lots of confusion and frustration. Semantics also rears its ugly head in marketing efforts; product development groups (be they profit or non-profit) create a product or service and they understand fully what their offering is, yet it falls dead in the water.

Well, duh! They’ve been involved in the product development cycle for months if not years and are completely familiar with their own lingua franca. Unfortunately they forgot to translate their knowledge to their audience effectively.

CiceroFortunately for the above and all similar situations there’s a simple semantics solution and you don’t need the CAS to do it for you (we’re very good at it though and can definitely help). It’s based on Cicero’s Constitutiones.

According to Cicero, you can dispute

  • facts
  • definitions
  • the nature of the problem
  • the procedure or jurisdiction of the problem.

This makes creating that thesaurus incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that a single session dedicated to the above often removes the need for any kind of thesaurus at all.

Putting Cicero’s Constitutiones to work

Before the real work begins and hopefully early in the first session and when all stakeholders are in the room

  • create a list of what is known, a kind of “Just the facts, ma’am”, and make sure everyone agrees to every item on that list. This is known as “client buy-in” in some settings.
  • create a list of what each commonly used word means and again, make sure everyone agrees to the definitions. This is also part of client buy-in.
  • make sure everyone agrees to what the group wants to achieve and make that goal specific. Remove any kind of blue-skying, any kind of wish list and personal agendas. Sometimes you’ll need to break this down into milestones and so be it. Until everyone agrees on what the group is solving ain’t nothing gonna get solved.
  • make sure everyone agrees that the resources (personnel) who can solve the problem are in the room, are willing to accept some responsibility for the solution, have authority over how the problem got inherited and who’ll inherit the solution. This last is especially true because finding your work orphaned is a definite morale killer. It can also be a difficult task because after your group has created a wonderful solution — say a new product or service — you hand it off to marketing or manufacturing and you’ve given them a problem to solve — how to market or manufacture the new product or service. Most management teams don’t like inheriting problems. Your group didn’t, did they?

Thus a good foundation in the Classics (who knew a liberal arts education would be profitable?) helps us remove business obstacles before they even arise.

RVMsmallfrontcover.jpgYou can follow me and my research on Twitter. I don’t twit often but when I do, it’s with gusto!

Have you read my latest book, Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History? It’s a whoppin’ good read and An Economy of Meaning readers get a 25% off the list price of all NextStage research by entering ECOMEAN1 when they purchase.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stacy Sims permalink
    2010/02/02 4:42 pm

    Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

  2. 2010/02/05 9:10 am

    Thanks, Stacy,
    I appreciate the kudos. Please feel free to let CAS members know if there’s something more or other you’d like us to blog about. We’re a pretty diverse bunch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: