Your Time Proves Your Priorities

One of the greatest lessons I learned in business happened in my first year out of college and it has been true every time since. I had a mentor say to me "Listen respectfully to what everyone says, but pay attention to what they do, because the action gives away their honest intentions".

Actions speak louder than words.

In learning and development, I saw this all the time. A leader would say to me "I value training and developing my people". Yet, they never could find time to send the people. They were always too busy. I developed a simple rule - if something else took priority over training once or twice, that happens. If something takes priority over training all the time, you don't really care about training.

That applies to vacations, development, meetings, building relationships, etc. Words are easy to say and easy to formulate based on what you think people want to hear. Actions are where you prove your words either right or wrong.

I knew an executive who was invited to give a speech on talent development at a conference. The speech description said how she was going to explain that talent development was the "first pillar of her program". That sounds awesome. I believe she really meant that.

Big program - no one on her talent development team knew what she was talking about. They hadn't been given any objectives for the year (the discussion to help form them kept getting pushed back because of time constraints) and they didn't even know she was giving this talk.

Based on the actions, if you were in the talent development team, would you believe that she felt that development was important? Of course not - no action proved those words.

Don't tell people what you think is important. Show them through actions.