By Bradford F. Spencer, Ph.D.     (Summer 1992)

I thought it would be somewhere between itsy-bitsy and ivory. Alas, no “ivity” in Webster’s. you might ask, “Why has this search been so important to me?” It is quite simple. There are several very important words that end with this suffix. They range from “nativity” to “creativity,” but the most important are “productivity” and “activity.” Because they have this common ending, I expected they might have a great deal in common.

I find many of our clients are misinterpreting their activity for productivity and indeed the reality is that they have very little in common. The fact of the matter is, the only thing they have in common is the suffix I am trying to hard to track down.

However, this creates a problem. People are mistaking the fact that they have been active (busy) with being productive (creating value), when it is very clear that only goal-directed activity results in productivity. Unfortunately, much day to day activity is clearly not goal-directed.

The closest I can come to help in this is to ask, “Is what you are doing now going to result in an outcome that is meaningful to you or the organization? If not, why are you doing it? … And can anyone help me find out what ‘ivity’ means?”

Next, I am going to try to figure out why people think that income is more important than outcome and why there seems to be such resistance on the part of otherwise bright people to relating the two. HELP!