Organizational Development

Evolve Current Best Practice – Ancient Wisdom Still At Play

According to AAA Encyclopedia, “The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep is the most ancient complete literary work existing. It was written in the Fifth Egyptian Dynasty, 3580 B.C. to 3536 B.C. In this papyrus book, Ptah-Hotep sets down the rules of behavior that all wise men should convey to their sons”. From this ancient text we learn, “If you carry a message from one noble to another, be exact in the repetition,” and other communication directives such as, “Do not gossip,” and “Guard your reputation”.

Centuries before Jesus, communication training was facilitated and documented. We continue to label different types of communication in an attempt to map the history, present, and future of communication. Why is this important? Determining if an organization values communication can mean the difference between two different approaches to communication:

– investing in communication training and expecting managers and supervisors to evolve their communication skills

– or, allowing dysfunctional communication patterns to rule departments for decades because that’s “just the way he/she is”

Are your leaders required to define and communicate expectations? Are they required to coach employees on the path to meet those expectations, versus telling them annually they are failing to meet those expectations? Amazing to me is learning the oldest surviving literary work is on communication in an organizational context.

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