I hear the dreaded question:
“How have you been doing with your flossing?”
The deep swallow I take while the practitioner probes my open mouth and inspects my gums reveals the real answer to her question. I’m guessing many of you are with me on this one.
There are things we know we’re supposed to do, but we don’t always follow through. I know I’m supposed to floss, but I don’t always do what I know.
Look at how long it took us as a society to shift the way we think and act about cigarettes. You think we didn’t know they were bad for our health? You think we didn’t have a sense that they might be a contributing player in our overall lung function, heart disease and aging of our skin? You think we didn’t have the sneaking suspicion that inhaling smoke all day might play a role in lung cancer?
There are things we know and then there are things we do.
Sociologists C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler would call this “the halo effect,” which is the difference between what people tell interviewers or pollsters when surveyed compared to what people actually do.
People tend to inflate how often they engage in desirable or reputable behaviors, such as voting or going to church, and underestimate or under-report their less socially desirable behaviors such as drinking or drug use.
In the ecosystems of our teams, businesses, communities and families, it is only human to acknowledge that a knowing and doing gap exists. We all have our shortcomings and disconnects between what we say we know and the things we do.
However, one of the most significant differentiating factors in all high-performing, connected and thriving groups of people is their ability to bring the story of what they aspire to be into action.
Those who are able to shift their culture are intentionally putting actions into motion throughout their days. Those who are successful at setting the temperature they desire within their culture carry out the actions that align human beings around the compelling story they articulate about who they aspire to be.
They enter into a process to discover their highest priorities, commit to the most important things they know, and then do them with disciplined action. It is our actions that bring the core values posters off of the walls and put them on display within our people.
Jason V. Barger is a globally celebrated keynote speaker, leadership coach and author of Thermostat Cultures, Step Back from the Baggage Claim and ReMember. He is founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, a Columbus-based company that works with businesses and organizations worldwide. Connect via email at jason@JasonVBarger.com or on social media at @JasonVBarger.
P.S. If you liked this blog post, you may also like these!: