I was reading an article recently that had career advice from women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I noticed that some common themes emerged, and one of these themes was the importance of walking the talk.
I liked the way Irene Rosenfeld, CEO at Kraft Foods said, “The fastest way to create cultural change is to start acting the way you wish the company would start to act, and very soon it starts to catch on.”
When it comes to change, it would be much better if we could just tell people what we wanted them to do, or to do differently, and they would comply without a single whimper. How many times have we thought, or said, do as I say, not as I do. But we learn pretty quickly the weakness in that mantra.
The beauty is in the simplicity of Irene’s advice. When we try to implement change as leaders, we just wish it would go faster and easier, but that never seems to happen. People resist, problems crop up, and plans go awry. How often have we sat behind our desks trying to figure out the best way to handle something or tried to come up with the perfect plan. What is often called for is just for us to get up and go out among the team and lead by example.
Remember Gandhi said, “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.”
I think that Gandhi and Irene were talking about the exact same thing.