I have to thank a former colleague for this post.

She reminded me that – when it comes to those we look to as leaders – it’s pretty clear that each of them knows the script they should operate from. 

The right words – the correct turn of the phrase – the powerful commentary intended to inspire.

We watch them every day – in meetings, on virtual calls, and yes – on our television. And we hope they are more than the words they offer.

Maybe it’s because we know intuitively that every character actor can learn a script – but only those with character can live the script. 

Pretenders memorize – authentic leaders actualize.

I thought the other day of something whispered in my ear over 30 years ago that is as true today as it was then – it came from a mentor whose opinion mattered to me.

A great “communicator” had just regaled us with their oratory – and their vision of the future of our company.

As the audience stood to cheer, my friend turned to me and said, “Now…watch their feet, Tim….watch their feet. Everybody knows the words to the song….let’s see if they are prepared to really dance.”

I have spent a lot of time in the years since “watching the feet” of “would be” leaders – and trying to match their actions with their words.

Character actors abound.

Actors of character….not so much.

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