Do you believe what you are saying?

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The old saying goes, “The first sale of any idea is to yourself.” People are amazingly good at spotting if you truly mean what you are saying or just pretending. Mistrust is one of our deeply rooted survival instincts.

This is one of the root causes for strategies not being implemented, changes not being executed, or a new product not selling:those people who are supposed to promote the new, the changed, and the outstanding have not committed themselves to its value.

Simply ask yourself: How often have you agreed to act upon some requests from your superiors or colleagues without truly believing in their benefits? Several times? Hundreds of times? This phenomenon of acting without commitment is common and unavoidable.

The issue is this: any organization gets paralyzed and becomes unable to change if this uncommitted action represents 80 percent or more of any activity. This is at least the ratio that I see in most organizations.

What can you do as a leader? Three calls to action:

  1. Check your mindset. If you do not commit to something—a change or a strategy implementation, for instance—then ask yourself what past experiences influence the meaning you give to the subject. Are they still relevant?
  2. Make it simple. One of the most common reasons for lacking commitment is uncertainty, caused by complexity. If you feel uncomfortable with a change initiative or a new product to sell, then boil the message down to what is essential. What is the key message, in one sentence?
  3. Clarify the purpose. Why are you supposed to execute the change or promote the new service? What is the true reason behind it? Nobody commits to something whose purpose is not entirely clear.

Don’t try any shortcuts. Be entirely clear with yourself why you want this strategy or this new service or this new production method.

Before you stand in front of others, explain to yourself in three short sentences why you want this thing now. Do you feel good when doing so? If not, go back again to the three points above. It’s worth it.

This blog entry is from our Friday Noon Memo, the weekly memo for high-performing leaders and organizations. Click here to subscribe.