Every company, whether intentional or not, has its own culture and its own jargon.  Most organizations have a written vision statement. Some prefer a mission statement.  Others refer to core purpose.  And almost every organization we know of or work with has done work on defining their core values.

Companies hire communication specialists.  We have websites, all company meetings, blogs, newsletters, and articles.  In today’s world, we are bombarded with words.

The question we grapple with, especially with organizational leaders is, “What are people hearing and believing? “

You know the cartoon where the person is talking to his or her dog and the bubble over the dog’s head says, “Blah, blah, blah.”  It’s funny when we are referring to our dogs but not so funny when a CEO, key executive, or manager is getting a similar response from their people.

So what can we do about what our people hear and believe?  One simple way to think about it is to recognize that when words and deeds match, authenticity is present.  If your organization has core values but has never defined what behaviors bring those values to life, how important can talking about our values really be?  Even worse, is when we do have behaviors defined but the deeds don’t match the defined behaviors.

We assert that authenticity alters the way the audience listens and believes.  We may not agree with everything being said but in the presence of authentic communication, people listen.  We’ve also been given two eyes.  When what we see is what’s been said people pay attention.  When what we see is not a match with what’s been said, we shut down or literally flee.

Many leaders are gifted speakers.  The ones who create passionate followers are the authentic communicators whose deeds match their words.