Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Actions Matter

Regardless of what industry you work in or the job title you hold, you are always sending messages to the business community.

I am not talking about blogging, texting, brochures, cold-calling, public relations, advertising, emails, giving speeches, sign language or other planned communications.

Instead I am referring to your actions. The old cliche "your actions speak so loud I cannot hear what you are saying" is true. We all have good intentions and a public message that we profess, but it is what we do that really is noticed by others.

Nobody is perfect all the time, but over a lifetime our actions prove our souls. A mistake on occasion is forgiven, but a pattern cannot be ignored.

We all have friends with whom we share history, but who are either selfish or they are flakes. We come to expect them to let us down. They don't mean to cancel lunch at the last minute EVERY TIME, or in some other manner disappoint, but they do it time after time. Eventually we just know that they are not reliable or we dump them. We either accept them with their faults or we move on.

The same is true in professional relationships. Others are watching your every move and developing opinions about you. They are telling your customers, prospects, referral sources and others about the positive and negative aspects of your reputation.

I have talked to many who think it is "unfair" that people are always watching and judging. But like I tell my 11 year old, "who said life is fair?"

I know that there are people in my business community who are critical of me. Sometimes I deserve their sideways opinions (I am just a person with faults)....other times they are taking small things they witness (or think they witness) and developing a point of view on the whole package. In the end, I try not to worry about those who are negative, and I go on about my actions trying to do the best I can.

The thing is that no person is just what you see. Steve Harper had a great blog post about "the back story" a few weeks ago that reminded me to remember that everyone has a part of them that is not visible publicly. We cannot know why a person makes the decisions they make or takes certain actions. Thus, it is best to be slower to judge!

Yet regardless of how fast or slow people judge you, they do. The best antidote to this is to think about how your actions might effect others. Make certain that your commitments are fulfilled consistently, and that you are not rationalizing bad behavior assuming others will understand.

Every choice you make leads you closer to your ultimate goal or leads you astray. This applies to the big actions and the small actions. Remember that and it makes all your choices much simpler.

Have A Great Day.


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