“Who we are is influenced by what we say, strengthen by what we do, however ultimately defined through the relationship of what we say and what we do”, says Paul Hughes.


I read a lot. And the books that I am most interested in are 50 years old or older. The reason these books get my attention is because I am looking for what I call timeless knowledge – knowledge that was as relevant then as it is now. Then when I work with an organization I apply this timeless knowledge with my client, to their context, in a timely way. 


The new rules are the old rules

It is easy to get distracted with the new: new technology, new products, new apps. And yet I am repeatedly surprised with the number of new books that fail to include a wider context that embraces the old. (The words ‘old’ and ‘new’ do not seem right, therefore I prefer to use ‘timeless’ and ‘timely’.)

For example, Twitter is a new tool that is used for an old task: communication. It is there to help us communication, albeit in new ways, with new dynamics, ultimately it is still about communication. It is not a end in itself, it is a means to an end. 

While I am interested in understanding new tools, they only become meaningful for me when they include the essence of what the tools are used for. So in this example, I believe it is more important to understand the rules of good communication before understanding the rules of Twitter. For this reason I say that the new rules are the old rules and that it is best to understand the essence of something before we apply it in new ways.


Creating Trust

The goal of every organization is to create trust. It is our prime directive. While there are a number of factors that combine to create a sense of trust, for me the essence is in the relationship between what we say and what we do. When these are aligned trust is created.

It seems simple, yet all too often as clients we do not experience it and as organizations we do not live it. So what can help? 



One thing that can help is our interaction with others. For when we interact a mirror is held up to us and very quickly feedback is given as to whether or not we are doing what we said we would. 

In the accompanying Visual Statement we can see two relationships: the first is a mess and is not working, the second is more elegant and weaves a knot with the other person. I use the metaphor of a ‘knot’ because it suggests joining and the art of weaving more than one thing together – what we say and do, with what others say and do. It is clear that there is an art and science to this, perhaps more an art than a science. 

There is an old saying: we should leave the world a better place than how we found it. This is a timeless goal, that we are called on to do together in own timely way, so perhaps the questions to ask is: how do I weave the world a better place?