A Leadership Challenge: Close the ‘Saying-Doing’ Gap

Inc.com | July 6, 2015


In a previous post, The Key to Transformational Leadership: Know How to Empower Your People, we discussed the importance of closing the “knowing-doing gap.” Clearly, great leadership first requires knowing what to do and how to do it really well.

I would like to suggest that we start closing the “saying-doing gap.” This is the classic scenario where we, as leaders, fail to walk the talk and actually deliver on these commitments. Not only does this gap frustrate your best people, it erodes the trust that binds the organization together.

In our Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence professional development training course, we communicate that a leader’s role is to establish, operationalize, and sustain the values and vision by which the organization thrives.

It’s usually not a challenge for leaders to say that developing future leaders is important, nor is it difficult to say that we have a vision of future success. However, with the pace and complexity of business today, it can be an enormous challenge and opportunity to operationalize and sustain these commitments.

Here are four more posts where we’ve shared tips and strategies on leadership development:

So how can we begin to close the saying-doing gap? Here are some suggestions:

  • Start team meetings by discussing these posts, as well as generating new ideas that are unique to your organization’s culture and specific business environment.
  • Ask each team member to write down on a sheet of paper and share with the team the one thing he or she is going to do differently this year to develop the leaders of the future. Then, have everyone pair up and sign each other’s paper indicating that they will hold each other accountable for acting on what they have written.

By closing the saying-doing gap, you build more trust because people know they can rely on you to do what you say you’re going to do. By passing this value on to your employees and adding a measure of accountability, you build a strong culture of leadership and commitment.

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