It is all the rage today to understand your mission, your vision, your values.

You can see both corporations and individuals spending lots of time (and money) identifying these things and then laboriously “word-smithing” them down on paper so that they read just right.

But, if we’re not careful, there can be a total disconnect when it comes to living out those well-crafted words.

Here’s what I mean…If I read your words and then look at your behavior or the behavior of your team, will I see congruence? Will the behaviors, attitudes, reactions, and responses align with what you say is important to you or your organization?

The following story recently arrived in my Inbox and illustrates what I am saying:

The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, ”I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ bumper sticker, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally…I assumed you had stolen the car.”

Take a moment and reflect. Are your behaviors and reactions aligned with what you say you value? To your customers? To your team members? To your family? To your neighbors?

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