Can we re-metaphor?

Ever since a friend recommended “Metaphors We Live By” I have been completely taken by them. We use metaphors constantly–most of the time unknowingly. When you start to think about the message metaphors can carry it becomes important to use them surreptitiously. 

Which is why I was excited after reading Seth’s post this morning:

If you worked on the line, we cared about your productivity, not your smile or approach to the work. You could walk in downcast, walk out defeated and get a raise if your productivity was good.

No longer.

Your attitude is now what’s on offer, it’s what you sell. When you pass by those big office buildings and watch the young junior executives sneaking into work with a grimace on their face, it’s tempting to tell them to save everyone time and just go home.

The emotional labor of engaging with the work and increasing the energy in the room is precisely what you sell. So sell it.

Because today’s healthcare delivery metaphor is very much manufacturing. Productivity. Efficiency. Cost cutting. Front-line staff. Turn around time.

When increasingly, as Seth writes, it’s about smiling.

The manufacturing metaphor has brought healthcare delivery a long way–business respectability in an industry that very much needed it. But I just wonder what might be possible if we re-metaphored to something like, say, conversations. Or relationships. Or something else?

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