Over the past few months, I have found myself repeating this quote by Henry Ford – “you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” The recipients of this wisdom are none other than my three teenage kids, but truth be told, they are not the only ones.
Deep down inside, we all know this is true. What we say matters very little compared to what we do. And everywhere we look, we are reminded of the saying vs doing battle:
“Talk is cheap…”
“Walk the talk…”
“Just do it…”
There are countless others no doubt. Clearly, there is a large disconnect between what we say and what we do. But what happens when we actually “do”? What then? Mission accomplished?
In their book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin suggest that “it’s not what you preach; it’s what you tolerate.”
When applied to a leadership concept, if we tolerate bad behaviour, bad work, bad teamwork, bad ownership, bad processes from your teams and/or individuals, this is bound to prevent us from achieving whatever objective we have embarked on and we are failing as leaders.
When we apply this to our relationships, family, friends, etc, if we tolerate everything, we are likely to find ourselves facing disappointment after disappointment. Yes, there are degrees of tolerance and deep down inside, we know what these are, we just need to learn to call these out.
When we apply this to ourselves, if we tolerate “half-assed” attempts, we will fail again and again. We have made the leap from saying vs doing, we are now owning our problems and our solutions. Let’s do it right.