Recently, my good friend and colleague Ed Callahan published a short article about the importance of intentionally using a regular, disciplined process to cascade “true rumors” inside your organization to help keep your people in the communication loop. It’s an excellent read.

His point is that leaders should spend time to regularly communicate the “true rumors” your organization needs to hear. It should be a purposeful exercise, where the message is stated verbally and in person, and you should make sure it’s heard and understood.

Ed is correct about what needs to be said. And his piece got me thinking about what I also believe to be true: Leaders should be aware of the message they are conveying by what is unsaid.

You don’t have to say it to send a message

I recently conducted a client session located at a rather prestigious golf resort. While we were inside working, a very large and well-known grocery chain was hosting its summer outing there.

When we were done, as I walked to my car, I passed a silver Rolls Royce–a $300,000 automobile–parked in the very first spot up in the front. That parking spot and vanity license plate told me two things at once: the company who was hosting the event and, whose car that was.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with owning that kind of a car. I’m sure its owner worked very hard and chose to spend his money on something he really wanted. However, every employee, customer, supplier and sponsor who was there that day received a crystal clear “unsaid” message about the car’s owner. It was the same message I received,

“I am here, this is me, this is what I value.”

Never forget that it’s what you do, not just what you say, that will send a significant message–whether you want it to or not.

In part 2, We’ll look at why leaders should be aware of the message they are conveying by what is said but not done