October 2011: Beware of the “Say-Do Gap.”

This insight is about credibility, which is all about trust – one of the most potent and fragile underpinnings of effective leadership.  When your actions are misaligned with your words, there is trouble, and it can turn into big trouble if you don’t recognize and correct it swiftly and genuinely.  Many leaders fall into the trap of making commitments or setting expectations prematurely – before they’re prepared to “walk the talk.”  Better to say nothing or delay the communication until you’re certain that your actions will ring true. 

It’s easier to recognize this disconnect in others than to see it in yourself.  It helps to have a few trusted advisors who will point out any say-do gaps that threaten your credibility.  Today, give yourself a say-do gap gut-check.  Step back and think about the expectations, promises and demands you’ve made of others, and examine whether you’re holding yourself to those same standards and delivering on your commitments.