Yesterday we were discussing how to present a set of recommendations in a report on redesigning and decolonizing the hiring process in an industry sector.

Should we cast the recommended practices as short- and long-term goals or as new level and next level?

Timeframe terms are what most of our readers are used to. The concepts are comfortable and standard, which may make them feel more approachable. This language also feels a little passive and detached from us as individuals.

We recognized that anyone reading the report is going to be at least a little pre-disposed to change, so maybe we could use language that encourages them to lean forward. One way to do that is to cast the near-term (easy-win) recommendations as the new minimum and the longer-term (more complex) ones as the next level. The levels terminology is based on new standards of practice rather than organization timeframes. It feels more aspirational and active, which could appeal to our audience on an emotional level as well as a practical one.

Personally, I prefer the levels. This sector, like many, is mired in outmoded ways of recruiting, hiring, retention and compensation. Bias, inequity and lack of transparency are rampant. We're not going make meaningful change with a traditional incremental approach that is a product of the systems that created these problems in the first place. We need to set new bars. And we need to start immediately.

Some of you may think this doesn't matter very much because, ultimately, how we present this doesn't change the quality of the information. True, but it does change how it feels to the audience. And when we're asking people to change what they think, feel and do -- connotations and context matter a lot. They set the tone. That creates connection. And that compels action.

We didn't resolve the issue, but the discussion was fruitful and we agreed to reach a decision at our next meeting.

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