Monday, September 21, 2009

Lights! Camera! Action!

“Actions speak louder than words.”

I’ll bet you’ve heard that statement a million times before. And while it may be a classic cliché, it also happens to be very true.

Growing up we quickly learned that people’s actions and their words did not always match. People would say one thing to us and then do something entirely different. Perhaps it was a parent telling us to eat our vegetables while theirs sat untouched on their plate. Maybe it was the Little League Coach who would tell us to always use two hands to catch the ball, all while holding a beer in his right hand and fielding ground balls with his left.

We looked to our “teachers” to provide a good example for us, yet so often we found that their words and actions didn’t quite synch up. We want our teachers to model the correct behavior for us, but somehow they often fall short. We expect the dance to match the music, but somehow the dance is slightly off the beat.

Flash forward 25 years and we find ourselves in the business world. We are now the boss, the “teacher” if you will, and we work with those around us to create a successful workplace environment. To do this we create a vision of what we want our employees to do. We communicate this vision to them regularly through stimulating verbal communications, exciting emails, pointed newsletters, and motivational posters with beautiful pictures and pithy sayings like “Soar with the eagles!”

But as we look into the mirror of leadership we must ask ourselves the question, “Are we modeling the behaviors that we want to see from our team? Is the dance we are doing in time with the music?"

When there is a consistency between our words and our actions we strengthen the impact of our message. Going beyond the words, we are able to demonstrate clearly for all around us that we truly believe in the message we are delivering. And just as we were able to discern the mismatches between people's words and actions as kids, so it is today with our employees.

Our employees are tuned in with laser-like focus on our actions and how they match our words. When we preach creativity but stifle differences, they know that variances are not welcomed. When we advocate customer satisfaction but focus on our own needs first, they clearly get the message that the business, not the customer, is king. And when we urge our employees to develop themselves but give them no outlet for doing so, they get the message that they are really not that important to the business.

The surprising thing here is that most of us are all too aware of the inconsistencies of others around us. But we sometimes look right past our own challenges.

When our actions match our words and we use those actions to advance our company or organizational mission, we create a synergy that our employees acknowledge and can work towards. This synergy then translates into a consistency of words and actions in their daily activities and advances your mission and your profitability.

Actions speak louder than words!

And a few simple actions will advance your organization much faster than thousands of words.

If you found this article helpful, I would encourage you to forward it on to friends and co-workers as well.

Until next time…..

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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