This cliché is meant to convey the importance of what you do relative to what you say; that the action that you take should carry more weight than whatever you said you were going to do or not do.
While I agree that your actions are often a clearer indicator of who you are and what you stand for than who you say you are, I don’t care for the implication that it is acceptable for your actions and your words to not be in alignment with each other.
In fact, I would offer that there is no sweeter harmony than your words and actions acting in concert with one another. I also think that it is more important to convey a clear, easy to follow message than a loud one. As an example, would you rather communicate with someone who is simply boisterous or someone who speaks conversationally and is easy to understand?
When your actions are reflective of who you are and what you say, you will enjoy more power and benefit from an increase in your credibility as a result.
Your additional power will be derived from the influence you will gain over those around you. People are naturally attracted to and/or willing to follow those who demonstrate strong character and the ability to do what they say and say what they mean. If you are, or become, one of those people, your sphere of influence will naturally expand.
Your increased credibility will be a byproduct of the trust that will be gained by being someone that others can rely on no matter the circumstances. When you prove that you are a go-to person for others, you will be called upon at moments and during times that will give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the pack. A go-to person is valuable to any team and value is often a pre-requisite to new opportunities and additional compensation.
So, while it may be true that your actions will carry more weight than your words, it is far more important for your actions to be in sync with your words, and both your actions and your words will count for more if they compliment each other and work together to best represent you and your true character.
By Scott Arney, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union.
This article is part of Arney's new series, entitled A New Use for an Old Cliché.
This installment is part of Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.