They Say One Thing & Do Another

by Jay Deragon on 08/31/2012

We will not be measured by our aspirations.We will be  measured by our actions.

—Lee Scott, Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart

Your company says one thing while the organizations behavior says something totally different. So what does it say to your employees, suppliers and buyers? We lie?

We’ve all seen it. Whether it is on the company web site or in one of their advertisements. We believe in…(fill in the blank).  We are committed to…..(fill in the blank) and the list of proclamations go on and on. Most people ignore these visions, missions and a list of organizational beliefs because past experience suggest few organizations can live up to their vision, mission and stated beliefs. Sounds a lot like today’s state of political jargon as front runners make promises they can’t or don’t intend to keep.  The human network knows to well that organizations and politicians will say one thing and do another.

People Are Tired of Hypocrisy

The notion of hypocrisy comes originally from the  Greek word hypokrisis, which means the act of playing apart on a stage . The root hypokrisis reflects, in part, the more typical contemporary meaning of hypocrisy as saying one thing in public and doing another internally.

When making purchase decisions, consumers are placing more importance on the consistency of what an organization or brand says and what it does. Being able to enhance the perceptions of trust affect the image of brands and firms, the propensity of consumers to buy brands and patronize retailers, and the financial performance of firms. In part, this elevated importance of trust is driven by the dramatic increase in public information about the activities of firms and their leaders. Growing mass-media coverage, aggressive consumer advocacy groups, rising numbers of anticorporate Web sites (e.g.,,, and popular movie documentaries have all revealed more and more company practices that appear irresponsible and not warranting “trust” from the human network..

In response to this surge of social media reporting negative firm behaviors as well as the increased levels of sensitivity of customers, employees, and other stakeholders to trust issues, more companies are trying to instill trust back into their culture and with buyers, employees and other stakeholders.

The importance for firms to rebuild trust not only has risen substantially over the last few years but also continues to increase dramatically as a result of current worldwide economic conditions and the resultant skepticism of how corporate practices affect the well-being of societies, the human network.

It has been said that actions speak louder than words and with the ever growing use of social media unless your words match your actions you’ll be considered a hypocrite. Leaders beware, your employees are the first line of judgement and whose words spread like wildfire.

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