Movies are a prime source of phrases and iconic sayings that become part of everyday vocabulary. One of the more famous lines popularized by a movie is: “Houston, we have a problem” as relayed by astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) in Apollo 13.

AMC Theatres capitalized on that familiar saying and used it as the sign on the restroom stall that was not functioning. Instead of a generic “out of order” notice posted on the door, they hung a “Houston we have a problem” notice.

The sign accomplished the same thing to stop patrons from entering, but it did so in a way that was clever and very on-brand.

Think about the language that is germane to your industry or organization. How can you incorporate some of it into your signage, wayfinding or art? Branded signs are small things, but all brands are a compilation of a thousand decisions that make a unique whole. Be intentional about what is written on yours.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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