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Leading Ideas: The Proper Way to Preach

“A good example is the best sermon.” — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, writer, scientist & printer

Something to consider:

If you’re ever having trouble making change happen in your organization, the first place to look is at your own behavior. Are YOU doing everything you could be doing? Are you practicing what you preach? If you’re not, call yourself on it. Don’t fall victim to the “accountability conspiracy” that pervades many organizations. This is the unspoken agreement that, “I won’t call you on the stuff YOU’RE not doing if you don’t call me on the stuff I’M not doing.” It’s collusion to keep everyone mediocre and it never ends well.

This dynamic was so bad at one of my clients that we designed a “rat yourself out” exercise. At staff meetings, each person took a minute to summarize where they had been slipping up recently. Slip ups were OK, but no one wanted to report the same slip ups week in and week out. As a result, the exercise provided strong motivation for behavior change. Moreover it provided productive team building around real issues. The team dealt with challenges as opposed to sweeping them under the rug.

Something to try:

1. Identify 1-2 places where you’re not following your own advice.
2. Come clean to yourself (and others if appropriate) about this.
3. Take action to practice what you preach.
4. This will re-introduce power into places where you’ve lost some.

Question: Where don’t you practice what you preach?FCS