What is grootship?

First, watch this video for fun (and it answers the question too.)

Since I made up the word, different parts of it have particular meaning to me, but you are free to create whatever alternate levels of meaning that the word speaks to you.

Practicing grootship is when you encounter a corporate policy, procedure, or otherwise ‘my boss won’t let me’ barrier, and instead of becoming frustrated, giving up, or hating your life because you’re stuck in a hopeless bureaucratic corporation, you decide to get creative, find a way to navigate around the barrier, and do something that moves you closer to your goal.

I’m not advocating breaking the rules, I’m encouraging you to try actions that are under your control that will help cause movement in the direction you desire.

How This Blog Will Work

I’ll start off by sharing some examples of things people have done or could do in different situations, but since I don’t know everything, and I know most knowledge resides out there in everyone else’s experience, I want you to share your own examples with me in the comments.  If I think it demonstrates good grootship, I’ll ask you to do a guest post so your idea can live on it’s own and be easily searchable in this space.  I want this to become a repository of everyone’s examples of grootship.

We’re not necessarily creating an exact ‘map’ of how to go do something, we’re just providing a little more hope and motivation by showing that there are lots of things you can do instead of feeling ‘trapped’ inside your corporation.

Thanks for your interest and participation.

What is your example of grootship?

12 thoughts on “What is grootship?

  1. Rex, I’m digging your idea and saluting your moving forward, but I’m a word guy: you don’t actually explain what grootship came from? Did you have a particularly bad hangover, and when a door slammed, you shouted “Grootship” when you meant to shout “Great sh*t!” or something similar? Is it something you whisper to your wife when you’ve had three glasses of pinot? Is it a cheese? What’s the root of groot?

    1. I thought someone might ask that. I should’ve known it would be the word guy.

      I was thinking about keeping it a secret and letting people come up with their own ideas, but since you asked, and I’m terrible at keeping a secret, I’ll let you know some of my thinking behind the word. But I still want people to come up with their own meaning or what the word speaks to them. (Because it’s kind of fun, and everyone sees things differently.)

      As I’ve played with this new word and tossed it around in my mind for a while, it has actually developed a few different meanings. (That’s why I think there are more out there for people to create – like you, Tom.)

      The first root of grootship is “grassroots”. Everyone knows what that means, especially in a large corporation. I thoroughly enjoy connecting with people and making things happen regardless of the organizational structure or what management has to say. But the word ‘grassroots’ was way overused on the internet, so using that great site, wordoid.com, I played around with different forms and sounds. I ultimately chose to take out the part in the middle that sounded like a not so flattering body part (or donkey).

      As for the ‘ship’ part. Well, as Linchpins, we should all know what that means. So I wanted to keep it in my word to help remind me to always ship. Ship my ideas, create, produce, make things happen, instead of letting them flounder in wishful thinking land. Plus, it makes a great suffix and turns the word into a nice noun similar to other great ‘ship’ words like leadership, mentorship, discipleship, etc.

      As for other meanings, I also thought of “grass roots is hip.” And I actually think it means “large ship” in German. If you do an internet search you’ll find some Dutch companies who design and build large ships. Hopefully you won’t confuse my site with theirs.

      So that’s my root of grootship. What’s your story of the word?

  2. Ah, Rex, you’re betraying your engineering roots (or groots)—nicely modulated parsing of how grootship came to be, through calculation and cunning. What unformed flutterings came to my mind when I saw it was something centered on a root, thus something basic, and because my thoughts often tangle, rather than thinking of “shipping” when I saw the “ship” part, I thought of an actual vessel. So, there you have it: A ship delivering roots. Which isn’t so bad, I suppose.

    But now you’ve got me thinking of so many “ship” words (leadership, fellowship) in a different way. Good! The Good Ship Grootship…

  3. Another great definition I found is from Alan Webber’s “Rules of Thumb”. His Rule #41 talks about ‘real leadership’ coming from people at all levels. He called it, ‘grassroots leadership.’

    Sounds like the long version of ‘grootship’.

    Because that’s exactly what it is, being a leader by making things happen at the grassroots, regardless of the so-called obstacles in your way.

  4. What a great topic. I love words as well. So much I bought myself the OED when I was 17, so I would have it on hand, just to read.


    Good luck with your venture!

  5. I like this site. I wish I’d seen it when you started it! And I like both the video of your confused children saying “Grootship?” and your explanation. Marvelous!

    1. Thanks Becky. You’ve really been an inspiration to me in so many ways. Thanks for all your great writing advice and amazing stories.

  6. I love it! I think I will add it to my own chapter of a book I read called “The Logophile’s Orgy”. A good read!

    1. Thanks Greg, I’ll have to check that one out.

      Glad you’re liking my grootship. Do you have any ideas you want to throw into the mix? I’ll add you to the Guest Posters Wall of Fame.

      1. The only thing that comes to my mind that was a fun example of grootship was to add ‘university’ classes to a corporation for which I worked. They had anything in that ‘catalog’ of classes that other employees would teach.

      2. Sounds like a good idea. Everybody knows something they could teach someone else.

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