The general idea of the “word of the year” isn’t particularly new: It seems to be popular in many languages and countries, according to the English Wikipedia, the German Wikipedia entry (other languages at the time of this writing are: Česky, Dansk, Esperanto, Français and Nederlands).
However, I got the idea to pick a personal word of the year from my wife. This idea goes at least back to a blog post by Ali Edwards. The notion (as I understand it) is to pick one word to guide you thought that year. To me this is an interesting change to the more traditional new years resolutions, since it conveys the idea of having a guidance, or vision rather than setting (usually) unreachable high aims.
It seems to me that a personal word of the year helps to move into a chosen direction. In a way it’s very much like a good vision for Scrum (and other!) software development teams — vision condensed into a single word. For all your small and bigger assignments you can quickly check, if what you’re attempting matches the idea of your chosen word, and then consciously decide if or how to proceed.
My word of the year 2013 is:
Do you pick a word of the year for 2013? Which one?