There is nothing more devastating to change initiative and overall change capability than for the senior leaders to espouse the benefits of change and then not act in alignment with those espoused benefits. In other words, when the behavior from prominent people within an organization is inconsistent with the change vision, then all other forms of communication are disregarded. 1 In short, “walking the talk” is an essential part of the communication system within an organization.
This process begins with the chief executive of the firm modeling the behavior being sought by the change vision. Next, it requires the top management team to police themselves to act congruently with the change vision. And if there are sponsored change agents by the senior executive team, these individuals clearly need to “walk the talk” as well. Change leaders are in a fish bowl, and they must be as if not more willing than the rest of the organization to change their behaviors. As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”