Our newly inaugurated president is in the midst of selecting the team he will work with to achieve his vision for our country. And while, in his case, many of those selections will require congressional approval, they are nonetheless his choices.
Does your team know what the ultimate objective is for each project they work on? Do they know what the purpose is—what they’re trying to achieve? Are you confident that you consistently communicate exactly what the goal is for each and every project?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about integrity—the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Then last week we learned that NBC News chief anchor Brian Williams appears to have been stretching the truth. His employer has confirmed that it is investigating Williams’ statement that he was in a helicopter in Iraq in 2003 that was hit by enemy fire and forced out of the air.
Last night, my wife encouraged me to watch the movie Saving Mr. Banks, and I’m glad she did. The movie, which stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, tells the story of Walt Disney’s quest to obtain the rights to make a movie based on P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins and her role in its creation.
When I was 12 years old, my family moved from Milwaukee to a small town in Iowa. How small? Well, we didn’t have a McDonald’s or even a single traffic light. On our first day in town, my brother, who was and continues to be a year younger than I, walked four blocks with me to the small grocery store that sat on Main Street. Our mother had sent us down to pick up a few items to feed the team of movers who were diligently unloading our belongings.
While in the store, we were approached by a very kind woman who happened to know exactly who we were. “You must be the new pastor’s sons,” she said. “I work up at the school. Why don’t you let me take you up there and show you around?” My brother and I quickly—and hopefully politely—countered that we had to get back home with the groceries for our mother.
It’s a sad day for me. Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and Ding Dongs, is going out of business. While my midsection may not look like it, I haven’t had a Twinkie—or any other Hostess product, for that matter—in more than 30 years. But I hate to see them go. Twinkies were a part of my childhood. Somehow, on occasion, we could convince my mother to pick up a box of those golden treats with absolutely zero nutritional value. That was no small feat! My mother refused to buy any form of sugared cereal, but every once in a while, we could coax her into buying a box of Twinkies.
What people do matters a whole lot more than what they say they’ll do. This statement should not surprise anyone. Actions speak louder than words. Then why is it that “smooth talkers” and “big talkers” often bluff and bluster their way though life despite their actions being very different than their rhetoric?
People get caught up in what people say — especially if they say it well. Consider that some of this country’s most successful politicians, including a number who sat in the Oval Office, were first-class orators. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were excellent communicators, as is our current President Barack Obama.