My point here is to consider the way the interaction within businesses and between businesses and their environment are thought and realize how old language habits structure our thinking and lock it up into old schemes.
At the beginning there was B2B and B2C. B2B because businesses used to make business together and B2C because businesses also used to have clients like you and me. Then, things went more complicated.
We say the appearance of B2E for Business to Employees. It took time but businesses were realizaing that operational and human relationships between them and their employees mattered. Even best : E2E, for Employees to Employees, because interactions between staff members may be important too !
I was about to write that all this things will surely lead us to “E2P”, “Employees to People” which would be about facilitating interactions between staff members and people from the outside. Customer care, collaborative innovation, community marketing…we’re heading in that direction.
But something makes me feel uncomfortable with all these definitions, something that telles me a mental barrier has not been broken, that some paradigms have to be cleaned up. It’s the 2, the “to”, which makes us guess we still think about one-way models. Me to the Others. I act. And the others ? They receive, they listen, they obey.
I’m afraid this is outdated.
What if we changed the old “to” for a “with. Finally, ain’t it our purpose ? Because it will be impossible to buit winning synergies if our thoughts tell us to direct people while our primary purpose was to make things with them. In short there will be no win-win relationships if we start with the assumption, even if it’s unconscious, that there will be a dominant and a dominated.
“Business with Business”, Employee With Employee”, “Employees with People (EWP…)… I’m sure that if the elaboration of any action plan started by wondering “what do we want to achieve with them” instead of “what do we want them to do in order to achieve our own goals”, we’d get slightly different results.
Words and their meaning have, even unconsciously, a certain impact in the way we put our ideas to work.