“Talk is cheap” and nowhere is this statement truer than in the workplace. Whether you are talking big about who you are, what you have done or what you can do, whether the manager espousing an open door policy, or the business painting itself as a great place to work, talk is cheap!
In 1996, Tom Cruise played the character Jerry McGuire in the titled movie that reignited the phrase “show me the money”. Growing up in the ‘60’s we would say “money talks and BS walks”. Same thing. However you phrase it, the essential theme is the importance of verifying what you hear with what you see; and backing up what you say with what you do. Remember, talk is cheap!
Before we get too far into this, know that I believe in “speaking” words that describe the me I want to be, the me successful and always striving to take it to the next level. Words matter. But words without plans and practice are hollow and often hypocritical. Words matter but they are the starting point not the end game.
Your success is tied to your ability to read the environment. A vital part of reading the work environment (or any environment) is distinguishing between what is said and what is done, what is hype and what is real. You may hear many things at work: “Speak up”, “Tell me what you think”, “My door is always open”, or “We are a family here”. You may say many things about yourself: “What I do matters”, “I am important to the success of the business”, “They need me”, or “I am doing everything I can do to grow and develop myself”.
Do others say about you what you say about yourself? If so, keep adding layers of positive affirmation. If there are gaps, develop and begin to execute a plan to be the “you” you say you are – the “you” you want to be. It is never too late begin. Start today.
Consider what the company says it is in terms of how it treats employees, customers, shareholders, the community and all constituents. Then make it your business to find concrete examples to support the platitudes. Where there are gaps, determine if there is anything you can contribute to closing the gaps. Is the organization at least headed in the direction of its platitudes or is it knee deep in phony, philosophical gibberish designed for show? You must know the difference. There are many options as to what you actually do about it. All viable options start with clarity about “what is”. Not what someone says it is, or what you want it to be, but what is.
- Planning and practice always trump platitude.
- Organizations and individuals spend more time on platitudes than planning and practice, more time telling than doing.
- Success requires looking yourself and your organization squarely in the eye and naming what is real.
- Actions will always speak louder than words!