What is Shared Meaning and why does it matter? • Meaning Guide – Steve Whitla

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What is Shared Meaning and why does it matter? • Meaning Guide

What is Shared Meaning and why does it matter?

 Steve Whitla1 week ago1 comment

I started using the phrase “shared meaning” a couple of years ago to describe the outcome we were focusing on in the organisations we were working with, but I wasn’t prepared for just how quickly the phrase came to be taken up by clients, colleagues and the world at large. It became the subtitle of the book I co-wrote earlier this year, and the more I talk about it, the more I hear it in other people’s conversations. While I ponder how on earth to find time to write another full-length book on the subject, here’s a short summary of what I mean by shared meaning, and why I think the world needs it.

Shared meaning is two things: one is the outcome we are seeking to achieve, and the other is the discipline that seeks to achieve that outcome. The outcome is defined at greater length elsewhere on this blog, but as a quick reminder:

If meaning is what it feels like to experience the following two sensations at the same time …

Meaning at work - I get it and I care

… then shared meaning is what it feels like for the same thing to happen within a group:

When this happens, there’s a release of energy, as the group identity forms around the meaning created.

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What is Shared Meaning and why does it matter? • Meaning Guide