For most of 2013 I used a certain phrase almost daily: "just keeping it real." I like that phrase a lot. Looking back I realize I used it intentionally, and publicly, as a tool to let others know that I was going to address issues that seem to be happening right in front of me, but that for some reason others chose to ignore.
Outcomes Aren't Everything
So much of the work I'm responsible for, and maybe for you too, is based on outcomes. Did we meet the goal? Have the numbers improved? Are we able to measure our progress? These questions are essential parts of moving our organizations forward; however, there is a missing piece of the leadership equation that dramatically impacts credibility and is not typically measured.
"A lack of realism today costs credibility tomorrow."
- John C. Maxwell
Unless you're a politician making empty promises on the campaign trail, your vision for the future is rarely reexamined once time has passed. We can get excited about where we believe the company is headed, but a scorecard is not often used to compare our vision with what everyone knows is true right now.
Let me restate that...the people around you are keenly aware of reality. Too many grand statements about the future can sound like empty promises if they are not linked to the reality of how your organization operates today.
Real Is Good
Like all of you, I want to help my organization continue to improve both for the customers we serve (in my case patients), as well as for the employees who work here. As I think about the words I say, the vision I have for moving both HR and the company forward, and the responsibility I have as a leader, it seems to me that the more I "keep things real" the greater degree of credibility I will have in the eyes of those around me.
Sometimes real may not be positive, or trendy, or fun. But real is honest; and I would much rather be honest with the employees in my company than get all caught up in my own rambling stories about how things will be...someday.
How About You
If you're not keeping it real, your credibility is disappearing faster than a bullet. What words do you use in the workplace? Are you forever talking about the future, your vision, and how things will be? Or, have you decided to get real, and build that grand future from where your employees are actually experiencing life in your company?
I'd love to hear from you.