Words and actions
These days I often remember something my granny used to say: “All that glitters is not gold”. I think about that every time I read or listen the speeches some CEOs are currently offering. They talk plenty about technology, strategy and future and hardly ever about people, operations and present (when both visions should be considered as a whole). Those CEOs remind me of those supposedly disruptive speakers and gurus who just challenge their audience with theories and thoughts which are impossible to implement on the field. However, what truly worries me is the fact of realising that the storytelling mastered with care in those speeches triggers an immediate reaction in the audience’s amygdala. It leads to a torrent of headlines, likes and retweets of encapsulated sentences which were part of the CEO’s speech and those sentences become mantras. If I put into practice the critical thinking I learnt from my granny (a very optimistic person, by the way), I can only wonder: what’s the authentic link between the words in a speech and real action?
We are not living on the age of the innocence anymore. Authenticity, especially when talking about coherence between communication and action, sounds like something quite exotic. We surrender to the magic of verbal or visual storytelling (and do not get me wrong: everybody loves a good story). Even if it’s so true that in this currently infoxicated world it is very easy to close our eyes and let us go, there is absolutely no excuse to decline our responsibility as intellectual individuals to apply our critical thinking to the information we receive before deciding if it really deserves a round of applause.
It is the first time in human history we have such a huge variety of resources at reach to bring clarity. Use them to confirm if a speech matches with the actions of the speaker. Use them to understand what does that mean when a company celebrates an investment in a specific area and skips what will happen with the areas that are not receiving any investment. Use them to confirm if the speech a board address to the company’s investors has been first shared with the company’s internal client, i.e. its employees.
Supporting an idea is an individual action which implies a choice. Individual actions shape collective actions. 70,000 years ago, we became sapiens thanks to our ability to manage bigger amounts of information enabling us to interact in a different way with what surrounded us. Nowadays, on the 21st century, we must be able to question the information we receive before taking a very compromising action: to give our open support to someone or something, even if this is (just) an apparently simple like.