To break things up a bit in 2011, I will be offering a leadership limerick each Monday, highlighting an idea or strategy about effective leadership in limerick form.
You share your values every day
In what you do, not just what you say
Only when those both are aligned
Will you be more likely to find
Others willing to let you lead the way
We have a lot of expressions for the power of values: Actions speak louder than words. What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say. Walk the talk. Practice what you preach.
People form impressions of our character and our trustworthiness over time through the consistent alignment of what we say with what we do. Words matter, but without corresponding action, they ring hollow. As a result, it's no surprise that the one major revision to the Kouzes and Posner model in The Leadership Challenge moved the practice Model the Way from the third position to the first practice. To lead and inspire a shared vision in others first requires an internal dialogue about the values in which we choose to invest and how we can demonstrate them consistently in thought and deed.
Just as a car falls out of alignment navigating the potholes of the road, so does our own alignment with what we believe fall out of sync, both individually and organizationally. It is good now and then to take ourselves in for a tune-up, reflecting on what we say is important to us, refreshing our commitment, and realigning our actions.