How You Label People Can Make A Real Difference


Witnessed on a train I was alighting recently. Here’s a commonly seen style of corporate clothing.

The casual uniform with banner emblazoned on its back.

Team Member

Research abounds that diagnostic labels matter.

Like assigning students into groups by alleged ability, when they were in fact random, yet the results somehow gravitate towards the expected group norm. Like telling people they are winners, and then they become so.

What does being a ‘team member’ even mean?

I remember when I first went clubbing (oh the glory days) and saw bartenders with huge letters spelling STAFF on the backs of their corporate coloured t-shirts. (I recall always preferring to see CREW.)

A bit like when navvies endured orange plastic sewn onto their work overcoats to denote their level.

There must be a better way.

There’s the famous story of how Disney improved both customer relations/experience and employee effectiveness through their ‘relabel’; Cast Members.

If you’re in a team, whether the standard sales operation with different patches or perhaps even a sole rider with assorted support, how are you labelling those around you?

‘Salespeople’ alone is not good enough. How about these informal tones;

Go Getters, Problem Solvers, Client 007s, The Listeners

(When I first tapped that last one, I mistyped it as ‘listenerds’, which I really liked!)

And why not apply the same idea internally to your customers?

The Indispensibles, A-Streamers, Trailblazers, Einsteiners

Better still, incorporate a linguistic nod to their problem that you remove. There’s an endless choice of words that signify how and where both you and your clients make a difference.

Remember, diagnostic labels matter. So why not use a good’un?

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