Doing what you say you’re going to do, and meaning what you say you mean may seem like lost art forms – prized and valued, but not presently practiced. It needn’t be that way and there are two trends that I’ll catch later in these posts that suggest that accuracy of speech and a commitment to agreed action will return to favor both in organizations as well as the public at large.
The first step is to learn how to see with – feel free to channel Shirley Maclaine here – your “third eye” and make sure you know what you are actually experiencing and be able to assess it. While the patterns of behavior you are seeing are not 100% predictive, they are highly suggestive – and much more accurate as window into future behavior than any diagnostic personality test you’ll ever encounter.
When I trained with Ed Yager decades ago to run assessment centers, one of the key concepts that stuck is to watch what people do, not what they say. This can be tricky business: sort of like watching that infamous bouncing ball on big screen sing-a-longs. While other aspects of assessment centers such as the classic “in-box” exercise are less predictive, what does give you a clear sense about someone’s future behaviors is charting their past and current behaviors.
This ability to track behaviors has helpful applications, not only in business, but also in other parts of your life. You notice, for example, that the person you’re seeing is always sorry that they are late for your date. If you’re just listening to the words – and not a student of Paul Eckman , who I’ll highlight in later posts – you hear the words of regret in their voice and give them the benefit of the doubt. If you’re tracking behaviors you note that they been late 9 out of the last 10 dates: you should note that when they’re late they express regret and promise it won’t happen again. The late behaviors probably happen again. Period.
The concept is simple: track and note behaviors .
The overlay concept is almost as simple: what do people say they are going to do, and what do they actually do? Again, if there’s a difference or delta, the work is to note the difference and apply it to future behaviors.
Third – booting up your third eye – watch and track: do the behaviors that people say they’re going to do map to what they actually do? If someone says, for example, that they will make something a priority does it actually turn the first or second thing they put their efforts toward? Again, the practitioner’s tip is slow things down, see the pattern and note any difference between what is said, and what is done.
In our day-to-life, one of the most interesting things for me as a practitioner is to see what happens – and the reaction that ensues – when someone does what they say they will do. Catch the press briefing on one prominent example in President Obama – who appears to generally be doing what he said he would do.
Which takes us back to the title of this post. As I scurried for parking to catch a phone call interview last week near the SFO – where most hotels on the bay side of Millbrae south of the airport now have gated parking – I saw the sign “Vagabond Inn” with the word Executive written in quasi-cursive.
When was the last time you saw a vagabond who was an Executive?
More to come.