Volume 133, April 2014: Walking the Talk

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2014 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Be the change you wish to see in others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Many books have been written on the topic of “Walking the Talk.” How do you know if you’re Walking the Talk? Employees often can’t hear what their bosses say because the actions speak too loudly. Check your blind spots – 360 degrees around you. Ask people to point up inconsistencies between what you say and do.

One CEO, Dick Knowles, from the DuPont chemical plant in West Virginia, conducted an unusual experiment. The company was seeking a perfect safety record. Leadership put out 18 values they felt strongly about, including people, leadership, etc. Then they told employees that it was their job to tell management when management’s behavior was incongruent with these values – Feedback! Because of this framing, people started checking their own behavior first, while trying to catch management not living up to their values. Within one year, everyone had adopted the values, and injuries went from 83 to 0 and held at 0 for 18 months. The change happened because leaders invited feedback and changed themselves in doing so.

Leaders continually recruit followers through speech and action. Everything leaders do and don’t do speaks volumes. If you neglect this, then you have leaders trying to talk themselves out of things they behaved themselves into.

Practice Point

Put forth to followers your values and intentions. Ask for feedback on the discrepancies.


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