Written by Kristin Harrington

Credibility takes a long time to build and minutes to lose. One of the quickest ways to damage your credibility in the eyes of others is by having a say-do-gap. If your words don’t match your actions in big or even small ways, you likely have a gap.

We work with many leaders with a more significant gap than they realize. If you commit to sending a project by Tuesday and Wednesday rolls by with no project, you have a gap. If you promise to start the meeting at 9:00 a.m. and don’t show up until 9:10, you have a gap. If you accept excuses for poor performance, you have a gap. The goal is to sync your words and actions perfectly so team members can trust that what you say is what you’ll do.

Organizations, teams, and individual leaders can all suffer from say-do-gaps. Often, a say-do-gap is contagious across organizations and teams. Individual leaders set the stage for missed deadlines, low-performance expectations, and excuses, and teams follow suit.

Is your team feeling inconsistent with gaps between what they say they’re going to do and what they do? When your team makes commitments to one another or external partners, do you honor them? If you’re worried your team has a larger than desired gap, consider engaging others in a discussion around these questions, featured in “Spark”:

  • What examples do you have of when our team failed to keep commitments?
  • What circumstances usually contribute to our team’s failure to keep commitments?
  • What have we learned from these situations, and how can we apply this?
  • If there’s one thing that you can do to narrow your “Say-Do Gap,” what is it?

Narrowing your team’s say-do-gap is critical to building strong credibility. If you sense a gap, identify the changes needed to resolve it and step forward to stronger performance.

Founded in 2004, Lead Star is the company behind New York Times best-sellers SPARKLeading from the Front, and Bet on You. Lead Star supports professionals to reach new levels of success through an innovative coaching program, Year to Rise.