As a senior executive at a large pharmaceutical company, I was occasionally asked to take on reporting responsibility for additional operational departments.  Upon meeting with the first new department, I spoke in enthusiastic terms about who I was and my management style.  I’m not the sharpest saw in the shed, but I quickly sensed that my talk did not have the desired effect.  On reflection, I realized that these folks wouldn’t trust me based on a short monologue.  They would listen to what I said, but then wait to see if my actions lined up with my words! 
After that, my welcoming speech took seconds, not strained minutes . . . “I can stand here and tell you all sorts of things about me – really how I see myself.  But you will judge me by what I do.”  The disconnect we witness daily between an individual’s words and actions has become epidemic in our society.  Of all I have read on this phenomenon, perhaps the most common sense teaching resides on a gravestone in Boot Hill Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona:
“Be what you is
  Cuz if you be
  What you ain’t
  Then you ain’t
  What you is.”
The prairie philosopher that authored this epitaph was surely no Shakespeare, but he insightfully grasped that when a leader’s actions don’t align with their words, he or she is doomed to fail.

About Santo Costa

Sandy Costa is an internationally respected speaker and business leader. Check out Sandy’s website at
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