Professional Business Development: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Key Takeaways

  • Actually implement newfound knowledge once obtained; don’t cast it aside!
  • Transform actions into habits in only 21 days.

How many times in your life have you heard the statement “Actions speak louder than words”? Or perhaps you are more familiar with a quote of Benjamin Franklin’s which espoused “Well done is better than well said!

A good question to ask after hearing one of these quotes, might be “And just what are you going to do about it?” An even better follow-up question then might be “And just when are you going to do it?”

In our quest to become better human beings, more productive and/or happier, it is often helpful to seek out advice from those luminaries who seem to have it all figured out. I have read many books by and about such individuals and I have learned much.

The real great lesson to be learned, however, is not how important it can be to learn from the experience of others as much as how critical it is to actually put this newfound knowledge into practice.

Let’s look at a very modern-day example that gets repeated hundreds, if not thousands of times every year in the business world.  Read this and ask yourself if you can relate. BE HONEST.

A company decides to send select managers to a professional seminar.  The seminar is viewed both as an award (as only select people were chosen to participate) as well as an opportunity to increase productivity in whatever portion of the business one might be responsible for.

The seminar is held in a beautiful city, at a high-end resort and very much has the feeling of a vacation destination.  It is filled with executive-level types and a lot of knowledge is disseminated.  People take copious amounts of notes, ask a lot of questions and are fully engaged. What a tremendous experience!

At week’s end, as the seminar wraps up, people say their goodbyes, promise to stay in touch and are elated with their newfound knowledge.  They check out and start the journey home, and it is usually at this point in time that they dive right back into the same mannerisms and habits used prior to the seminar.

Sound familiar?

Answer the following question, and please be brutally honest with yourself: How many times have you attended such a seminar and afterwards on the way back to the airport and perhaps on the flight home, you spent the entire time working your way through all of the emails that have backed up in your absence? There is certainly nothing wrong with doing this as we must keep things moving forward, but the problem for most people is that is exactly what they keep doing.

After the flight home, they probably get a shorter night’s sleep than normal and get into the office to tackle all of the other issues that crept up during their absence. As they walk into the office, they toss the seminar binder, CDs and links with all of that valuable information and all of those personal notes in the corner. They have every intention of making it a newfound part of their daily schedule. Unfortunately for the vast majority of people, the binder remains in the corner collecting dust week after week and month after month. Very little of it ever actually gets put into practice.

This is the mission-critical step that must now take place. ACT ON IT!  Use the knowledge gained, implement it immediately and continue to do so for at least three weeks. A number of studies show that it takes on average about 21 days for an action to become a habit. Force yourself to consciously apply the lessons learned.

It doesn’t matter how you decide to implement the tactics. Write them out in your Google calendar, leave post it notes on your iPad, on your desktop (both computer and literally on your desktop)!

Remember where we started: “Actions speak louder than words.” Unless you make a conscious effort to improve yourself and your results day in and day out, you are destined to continue to get the same results you have been getting. 

A key point is that even if your results are good, they can be far better by staying focused, applying new knowledge and tracking your results. You can have a lot of fun with tracking your results, both good and bad, and in doing so you will separate yourself from the pack, which very rarely takes this all-important step.

Now that you know what to do, just go do it! Good luck!

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.