A Fresh Look at “Not Enough Boots on the Ground”

Graphic of Boots on The GroundWhen working toward results in business certain overused sayings are borrowed from the language of war. This practice inherently says there is an enemy that must be overcome. Instead of being frustrated by the metaphors of war, consider overused phrases as a signal to re-think what is being expressed and consider a response that comes from nature and growth. Questions or statements that come from a mindset of curiosity are like seeds. Questions lead to new thoughts, ideas, and approaches. 

 We don’t have enough boots on the ground

What does this saying really mean?

The speaker is expressing a frustration that something is not going well.  It is easy to agree and even try to figure out how to get more people.

However before doing that, a listener can respond in a way that supports a deeper look. The mindset of curiosity assists the speaker to solve his or her own challenges.  A few possible questions to get the conversation going in a new direction could be:

  • What’s up?
  • Are you feeling frustrated?
  • What’s worked before?

In real life when this approach was tried, it allowed for new possibilities to be expressed.  The frustrated speaker realized through conversation that the people on her team where confused and not all working on the same objective.  She then felt energized and started meeting with each person and having conversations about the focus and speaking in a way that gave a sense of direction.

What other well worn expressions have you heard that sound like war?

Graphic of CultivateSeeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we cultivate conversations about civility in the workplace.

Note: Boot graphics are from: 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)