“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.”
– George Bernard Shaw
“You don’t have to mean it ~ you just have to say it.”
– Clare Underwood, First Lady of the United States, House of Cards
Trust in organizations means doing the right thing and doing things right for the good of all shareholders through the strategic alignment of values with behavior, words and actions. That’s the proof of trust.
Some ways to Align Behavior and Communication … the ABC’s of Trust™:
- Talk directly to your people. It’s not about sending an email, checking the ‘communications’ box, and thinking that you’ve communicated.
- Show respect, concern and empathy. Show that you care.
- Reach audiences through credible communications.
- Articulate and clarify the strategic direction of mission, vision, goals and objectives.
- Do what you say you will do.
- Do the right thing.
- Say what you know when you know it. If you don’t know, say so. If you can’t tell, say so.
Misalignment of behavior and communication results in an erosion of trust. Many examples exist in the workplace, such as when leaders tell their people about things they intend to do but nothing happens or when a company’s slogans and mission vision/values statements don’t match up with the way they really operate and/or treat their people.
John R. Dallas, Jr., CEO of Hillview Partners Network LLC, friend, colleague and alignment strategist, reminds us of the importance of trust with aligning words and actions: “Be ever mindful of the fragility of trust that one wrong word can shake if not bust.”
These may be well-worn phrases — Do What You Say You Will Do ~ You’re As Good As Your Word ~ Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say ~ Walk the Talk — yet they speak to the fact that the words we use are vitally important. Judy Goodman, a highly gifted teacher, counselor, and intuitive says: “Our words are our power! The words we speak become our reality so it is important to be careful of the things we speak into our mind, body and spirit.”
In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz teaches us: “Be Impeccable With Your Word.” In the song, “Your Word is Your Wand,” Megon McDonough sings:
Your word is your wand, Watch where you wave it.
Your word is your wand ~ watch where it lands.
It flies forth from you and then comes back around.
Your word is your wand. Your word is your wand.
- How’s your say/do communications? Do your actions match your words?
- Are you consistent in your messaging, both verbal and written?
- Do you deliver on your promises? Where are you saying one thing and doing
another? Where are you out of alignment?
- Do you believe in what you’re saying?
- Are you providing the right support? Are you conveying your feelings,
your passion, your empathy, your truthfulness?
Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Trust is an Inside Job: A Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture and Bottom Line Success (working title).