You must walk the talk in business by backing up what you say with actions. A simple exercise can set you on the path to doing so.
Leaders who walk their talk realise transformation and build amazing businesses. However, many leaders and managers say that they want change and continuous improvement but fail to match their words with actions. Imagine if there was a personal trainer in your facility who didn’t exercise, smoked and ate junk food, while ‘selling’ the benefits of an active lifestyle: doesn’t work, does it? If your values and beliefs are not congruent with your actions, and if you’re not giving your team or your customers your best, why should they continue to build their relationship with you?
You need to be the best you can be, and you also need to let your team and customers know that you are. In my business, I don’t care about your experience or your education or your background, I just want to know that you’re giving me your all: if you give me 100 per cent, I’ll give you 100 per cent. You must walk the talk by backing up what you say with actions. You must be congruent with – and just behind – your identity. In other words, you are always in the forward momentum.
To help establish if you are walking the talk, let’s take a look at the Congruency Matrix (see table over page). I believe the top 1 per cent of business people succeed because they have the attributes shown in the table. The key here is not just that they appear to have these attributes, but they actually do possess them. It’s not about being slick and presenting a false front to the world in an attempt to attract business, it’s about truly incorporating these things into your business, and then following through on them. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by completing the following exercise.
EXERCISE: Being, Doing and Having
Look at the table over the page.
1. Circle or write down the ones you believe you personally are currently doing, and the ones you need to get better at. Then, for the ones you need to get better at, write down how you are going to do this.
2. Circle or write down the ones you believe your business is currently doing, and the ones your business needs to get better at. Then, for the ones your business needs to get better at, write down how you are going to do this.
If you are going to walk the talk, you must not only show your current and future clients that your business has these attributes, you must follow through with clarity and confidence. Who are you? Where are your strengths? In what areas are you weak? You may need to get external help for your weaknesses, but to be attractive to your clients you need to show your strengths.
If you are going to walk your talk, that’s how you need to be behind the scenes as well as in the open, and you need to do it with respect and humility. You’ve probably heard it said that ‘you have the same number of hours in the day as Richard Branson (or Bill Gates or Janine Allis), so you can do what they do.’ This doesn’t make any sense to me. Who cares what Richard or Bill or Janine do with their 24 hours? I sure don’t. I only care what I do with my 24 hours. Worrying about anything else is a complete waste of time.
Do your best, all day, every day. What more can you expect of yourself?
Stefan Kazakis is a business strategist and founder of Business Benchmark Group, which helps clients from a variety of industries achieve ongoing business success and profit growth. He is the author of From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95). businessbenchmarkgroup.com.au