The Missing Link

Behaviours – How we are judged and how we judge others!

The Story of the £10 note

You are walking along the road and you see a £10 note on the pavement in front of you what do you do?

Over many years that I have worked in Industry and now that I coach others making their way through the ranks of organisations I come across people who can tell me all about what is important to them and why; they are usually successful employees who are passionate about what they do and the industry they are in; they know a great deal about their market sector and can reel off facts and figures to illustrate their points very effectively; they understand all too well that the need to succeed fundamentally stems from the need to get the rest of the organisation or department aligned with their vision and thoughts and galvanise their collective energy. They arrange workshops, do briefings, use all the communication platforms available to them, have 1-2-1 meetings and yet when they get feedback at their annual review or similar they are frequently disappointed and sometimes visibly distressed to find that all their efforts have failed to convey to their colleagues what is important to them on an organisational and personal level; So, what goes wrong and what is the missing link?Behaviour what you do counts more than you think;

Well it is not in the strategising or the planning, thinking and talking but in the doing. Others cannot see what we think or how we are motivated they can only see what we, do and how we do it.

What does my first question about the £10 note have to do with this, well when I ask them the above question I nearly always get wry smiles and a couple of different answers. I will usually have prefaced the discussion by asking everyone if;

  1. They consider themselves as Honest.
  2. They believe that returning things that do not belong to them is what they should do.

Not surprisingly they all nod vigorously to me and each other, of course we all consider ourselves honest and we return lost property etc.

Then of course the question comes regarding the £10 and the discussion gets interesting, because of course our interpretation of what constitutes honesty often differs from person to person and based on the circumstances and the situation, just like ‘little white lies’ some may argue that perhaps it shouldn’t, but it does.

Imagine now, if you will, that unbeknown to you, you are being watched; they will then make a judgement based on that action of how honest they think you are. The judgement will often be quite binary and without recourse to the circumstances and based purely on their perspective. Some individuals have the capacity to qualify their judgement, but many are not so inclined.

This is a very simple example of how actions speak louder than words, we are reading and interpreting others’ actions and they ours without necessarily understanding what is driving the behaviour; you could argue that we need to stop doing this, but we are all programmed with an unconscious bias and much of this is done without us really being aware.

Therefore, if you wish to change others perceptions of you, or ensure that people understand what is important to you then you need to be careful about what you do and how you do it rather than what you say;

The adage ‘Practise what you preach,’ comes to mind, or ‘walk the talk!’

Of course, the reason we act in certain ways is linked to our value and belief system, which most of us now understand.

The,important missing link that is often not discussed in relation to Values and Beliefs is Behaviours, if we wish to change the effectiveness of our interaction with others then our Behaviours on a day to day basis need to reflect our Beliefs and our Beliefs need to align with, and support, our current needs and future aspirations.

The one thing that we have control over is what we do; we do not have control over what others do; therefore, spending time analysing others is only useful if you are doing so with the intent of choosing a different way of behaving toward them, in order, to get a different response.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. Lao Tzu

It is not what you say that counts but what you do and your ability to do so consistently.