It’s Ad Week here in NYC. You know what that means….lots of panels! Sweet, right!? I love a good panel. I love sitting back and watching really smart executives talk. It’s awesome to see how certain people conduct themselves and interact with other super smart people and answer well thought-out questions provided by an entertaining moderator. It’s great. Get your popcorn people…let’s talk about some industry issues and innovative approaches to solving them!
I saw some awesome panels with great participants from leading companies. Over the course of listening to these folks…some impressed me and other disappointed me greatly. Specific to those that impressed me, I wondered….Are these folks spewing a bunch of hot air while dressing nicely, speaking intelligently and carrying themselves with an overall sense of supreme confidence and just fooling this entire room full of people? Is it a classic executive smoke and mirror show or do they really have the goods? I’ve learned that, in business and life, there are really 3 types of people….1) Talkers 2) Doers and 3) Talkers who do.
At every job I’ve had over the course of my career I’ve noticed “the talkers”…if they are really good they can almost build a career, and a successful one, by just talking and providing very little executional support at all. For some organizations that’s OK and for others it’s a big problem. These panel talkers were good but I took it all with a grain of salt because I didn’t know what their actions were in the day-to-day business comings and goings. They sure sounded good…but were they just talking or actually making it happen?
I wonder if this issue dates back to the beginning of time. Like do you think back in the Cave Man Era that there was one dude who sat in the village meeting and explained to the group how exactly the food for survival would be found, hunted and gathered? I imagine dude is saying something like this “The need for food is abundantly important for survival. In order to meet our nutritional needs and ensure that our race continues to thrive we need to consume food. Right? In order to solve for the issue at hand, we must make sure that food is our focus and that we can find it. Food is all around us…Over the hill there, I picture a buffalo! This buffalo will eventually provide food and energy for many of our people for a long time…we need this buffalo! Our strategic approach will be to allocate enough man power to surround this buffalo while armed with spears to strike down the large animal. After which…the deceased animal will serve our people and our vision will become an actuality.”
This dude sounds like he knows what he is talking about! He has a plan..a vision…and he can articulate that vision clearly. BUT…what about the dude who is actually picking up his spear, running out to the field and killing the buffalo?! Is the speaker man, the very strategic, big thinker actually out there making it happen? Or is he sitting in his cave, warming by the fire, smoking a tobacco leaf, admiring his mighty strategy to save lives? The vision is important but the doers are the one making it happen and taking words and making them into real actions that provide value in one way or another.
For me…I rather see the visionaries be involved with the execution and really actually be part of the action. Otherwise the talkers will get more and more detached from reality and their visions because unattainable. Talk really is cheap…and while you need strategic visionaries in certain circumstances a really awesome, no joke, value providing executive leader will both set the strategy and be part of making that solution a reality.