Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying!

People have not yet learned that what you say is never as powerful as what you do.

Words are a blunt tool at the best of times.

They are easily misunderstood, ambiguous, misinterpreted, taken out of context, twisted to suit the listeners purpose.

Words have unlimited capacity to cause offense, they very often cause more problems than they solve.

People seldom believe what they hear.

Action is crystal clear and unambiguous, it is seen not heard.

Look at the old saying “I will believe it when I see it” not “I will believe it when I hear it!”

So a person’s actions are much more powerful than what he says.

What a person does is seen, believed, taken seriously, and if he is a leader, followed.

And the most powerful combination of all is when a person’s words and actions say the same thing.

What has this to do with fraud prevention?

I very often come across examples of executives or leaders who talk a wonderful line of good corporate governance, corporate morality, ethics, a zero tolerance policy to fraud and mismanagement but their actions are saying something else.

They may be having an affair with the PA, inflating expense accounts, encouraging dodgy accounting practices, playing fast and loose with company assets or their private life may be dubious in some way, whatever it is his actions belie his words.

And his actions are much more powerful than his words ever will be, it is his actions that will be believed and followed, not his words.

If this is the case, fraud prevention is a lost cause because people will believe and follow his actions not his words.

The disconnect between what the leader does and what he says automatically dooms any effort to changing attitudes, engendering the right culture in the organisation, creating the right climate for fraud prevention to succeed.

Leaders and executives must “walk the talk”, actions and words must be in perfect sync for any fraud prevention effort to succeed.

This, of course, also applies to every area of business and life, not just to fraud prevention.

Are your actions speaking so loudly that people cannot hear a word you are saying?

Think about this, it could be the reason you are stuck in the mire.


3 Responses to Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying!

  1. […] You are in a leadership position and people follow what the leader does, not what he says. (See my post here) […]

  2. idtheftprotection…

    […]Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying! « David Alexander[…]…

  3. […] Alexander, author of Corporate Crime Watch, lays it out beautifully in this article. It shows, among other things, that the theme of words vs. actions applies to all areas of life: […]

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