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Value Creation Blog

Do You Walk Your Talk?

Posted by Josh Patrick

Walk the TalkHere is a statement I hear all of the time, “I have to start doing that.”  Another statement is “I need to do that.”  Every time I hear either I tend to discount what I’ve just heard.  This statements are just noise that seems to follow me around.

What about you, when you hear a statement like that do you take it seriously?  My guess is you don’t.  The reason is you’ve heard it all before.  People tell you what they’re going to do or what they need to do and never get around to it.

Sometimes we’re a little disappointed by the lack of follow-through.  Eventually we just stop listening to those people because we know they’re not serious.

No-one listens to what you say.

We only watch what you do.  Your employees don’t listen to your talk about a new mission statement or changing culture.  They only watch what you do and what your actions are.

I know you’ve heard the statement “actions speak louder than words.”  It’s true, people don’t pay attention to your new pronouncements.  They only pay attention to consistent action over a long period of time.

The real test of walking your talk is what you do when things don’t go well.  If you change to your old behaviors, no one believes you want a different world.  If you stay the course, as hard as that is to do you’ll gain credibility.  The longer you do this and the more consistent you are the more credibility you get.  When your words and deeds match each other, people will start to believe what you say is what you do.

Part of building trust is being credible.

For me, and I hope for you walking your talk is about building trust.  One of the important factors in building trust is being credible.  When you do what you say you’re going to do, people start to believe you.  They start thinking you’re credible.

If you don’t exaggerate and you under-promise those you work with can come to depend that you’re a person who delivers.  I love to say something will take me seven days and then I deliver in two.  If I do this enough people start to depend on my word for when things happen.  It’s part of the deal in building a trustworthy relationship with other people.

If you don’t follow through no-one is going to be able to trust you.

Follow through is another area where you’re going to be able to either build or destroy trust.  If you do what you say you’re going to do when you’re going to do it, you build trust.  If you continue to miss dates without explanations and eventually just miss dates you are going to lose a lot of trust.  People will stop depending on you and in fact, find you’ll be seen as a problem.

This includes showing up on time.  For me, on time is five minutes early.  I work with some people who are constantly late.  I can’t believe they’re only late with me.  When someone does this it shows they have no respect for my time or the value of my time.  It sends a loud message of, “I’m more important than you.”  Do you want to be someone who sends that message?

You have a choice about how you live your life.

Learning to walk your talk is hard work.  You have to fight a natural human tendency of exaggerating good things and minimizing bad things.  If instead we do the opposite we build more credibility.  Take responsibility for when things don’t go well and give others credit for things do go well.

Doing what you say you’re going to do is important.  Better yet, stop telling people what you’re going to do and just go out and do it.  I can promise you they’ll notice and appreciate it when you don’t blow your own horn.  Let others praise the work you do.  Sometimes you have to wait a while for this to happen, but eventually people will want to work with you because you get things done.  Isn’t that what you want in the first place?

If you’re interested in having a conversation with me about this post, please click on the button below.  You’ll be able to choose a time and date that works for you to speak with me.  The call won’t cost you anything and I love to talk with people about making their lives better.  Walking your talk will make your life better.  Or at least it has for me.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

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Topics: cultural change, value creation, communication

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