Walking the talk
The sure-fire way to make your company values meaningless is to demonstrate that you are unwilling – or unable – to practice them yourself. We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve heard this line “leaders don’t walk the talk” when it comes to the company values.
For a leader to fail to embody the values visible and productively is to fall at the very first hurdle when it comes to culture change. If you don’t do it then not only do you lose your ability to role-model what the values mean in day-to-day behaviour but, worse, you lose credibility from that point on. Without credibility, there’s no trust.
It’s not rocket-science but walking the talk requires first that the values mean something to you and second, that you have the courage, awareness and discipline to modify your default behaviour in accordance with them.
The reason why so many leaders don’t do this is the same reason that so many employees don’t want to do it either. It’s hard and it can be uncomfortable in practice.
Our experience shows that a commitment to walking the talk is a ‘win-win’ situation every time.