"Our culture is different than other organizations."
"Our values drive 100% of our decisions."
"Innovation is one of our core strategies."
"Our employees are our most valuable asset."
For the love of all things good and holy,
please stop saying these phrases.
You don't back them up. You aren't going to back them up. Oh, and your employees stopped believing your empty "culture" talk a long time ago.
Words + Action = Leadership
Words matter. They can be inspirational, threatening, filled with empty promises or so energizing that entire organizations follow you.
But for those of us that have interacted with (or been a part of) senior leadership teams we've not only heard those opening phrases...we've used them!
Newsflash! Your organization is only special when you combine the fancy language in your mission and values statements with action.
If your behavior does not match your rhetoric, you have failed.
The Front Line
Action happens in every organization on the front line. You remember the front line, it's where all of the employees are located. Not in the fancy board room, or the executive meetings where the head nodding in agreement is so prevalent I've often thought I was head-banging at a metal show. (see inspirational song reference)
The opportunity to engage, challenge the leadership status quo (who is often only interested in protecting their position at all costs), and make a meaningful difference is right in front of you.
However, the warning signs of inaction, group-think, and a clear disconnect from the reality of your corporate culture must not be ignored.
How About You
Don't be the talented leader who is tossed aside when a new CEO arrives and quickly picks up on your history of inaction and fear. Start earning your money today. Start challenging your colleagues when they need it. And above all else, get the hell out of your office and start building real relationships with the front line.
I'd love to hear from you.