When I was a Work-Life Balance Consultant, there was a big focus on managers and senior managers “walking the talk”.
It was all very well to create flexible working policies, to tell the team it was OK for them to leave on time or work 9-day fortnights, but if bosses came in early, left late, and spent all weekend emailing their employees, their actions spoke louder than words. Team members felt uncomfortable leaving the office before their manager, and could see that in terms of any promotion, working long hours was valued over life balance.
Managers, though, who walked the talk and lived the values they promoted, inspired and validated their employees, who repaid them with loyalty, high productivity and low sickness absence.
Walking the talk isn’t something I hear so much in the world of entrepreneurial business. We talk about “providing outstanding value” and “working on rather than in the business” – but how good are we at walking our own talk? How often do we model our beliefs to our clients and test the processes we put them through?
If you run an events business, when did you last put on a brilliant event for your prospects to show them how you do it? As a financial advisor, do your share your own investment choices and pension arrangements as examples for your clients? Social marketing experts – how innovative and well-tracked are your personal online profiles compared to those of your clients?
Don’t we all add value and engage people when we explicitly walk the talk?
As Publish mentor and publisher, I’m constantly exhorting KPIs and other entrepreneurs to write and publish their best content in book form; extolling the book as the best business card, lead generator and ultimate authority giver. So here’s my confession: the book I’ve written with my business partner Joe Gregory on How To Write Your Book Without The Fuss – our core area of expertise – has been sitting on the backburner for at least two years, while we put all our energies into mentoring other authors and publishing their resulting books.
The first draft of our book sat reproachfully on the shelf, the permanently unswallowed “frog” on our To Do list, until it finally dawned on us that we were being both foolish and unfair in not following our own advice. Foolish for not putting the value we had to offer out to our market; and unfair in withholding that knowledge and information from others who could benefit from it. We were not walking the talk.
To force us into action, I asked one of our excellent editors to work through our abandoned manuscript and give us feedback. This resulted in us having to do the substantial updates and revisions I often have to ask our authors to do – a salutary reminder of what it feels like to be on the other side of the fence.
Despite this being my ninth published book, when How To Write Your Book… was completed, then designed and typeset, our cover agreed and finalised, I felt that buzz of excitement, that sense of achievement that I love to hear our authors express when their books are about to make their appearance in the world.
The book really does encapsulate our years of experience in coaching and mentoring authors; shaping, writing and publishing over 300 business and self-help books. It sets out the frameworks of our A.U.T.H.O.R. model and W.R.I.T.E.R. process that I take KPIs through (though of course nothing beats working with a live mentor). From now on, all KPIs will get a copy of How To Write Your Book Without The Fuss – the definitive guide to planning, writing and publishing your business or self-help book on Publish Day, which should give them extra support beyond the workshop and webinars in getting their best book written.
Getting our book out is me and Joe walking our talk. As well as modelling it, we’ve also experienced our own process, checked how well it works and made some refinements. Now I just have to do what we tell all our authors to do: link their contacts to their book’s Amazon page and ask anyone who buys and enjoys the book to leave a great review!
How will you walk your talk?
Lucy McCarraher and Joe Gregory’s book How To Write Your Book Without The Fuss: the definitive guide to planning, writing and publishing your book is available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Kindle.