One of my favorite phrases, and I’m not sure why, is “eating your own dog food”. Sooo, that’s the name of today’s post. You may have heard the idiom before, a somewhat colorful if not distasteful way of saying that that leaders need to be consistent in what they say and what they do. Sometimes we say “practice what you preach”, or “walk your talk”. Different way of making the same point.
Well, I’ve recently had an opportunity to eat my own dog food. See, I routinely work with my coaching clients on planning their work in working your plan. This is not news to my faithful readers! Clients often report that ‘something came up’, something that took them away from their priorities, often something urgent or beyond their control. In such circumstances, we often discuss a strategy whereby they go back to their highest priorities, their highest purpose and ensure that their “plan B” is consistent with those values and priorities. Last week, it happened to me: I came down with a bad chest cold and bronchitis. There’s probably never a good time to get sick, but this was particularly challenging because I had so many big events on the calendar. As hard as I tried to get better quickly, I was left with little choice but to rearrange my schedule and not get everything done.
I boiled my priorities down to a) taking care of myself in order to get better and b) to go ahead with the launch of my first online product, Ascend. Everything else got pushed to the side, no matter how painful it was for me. I didn’t like the dog food, but I ate it!
Eating your own dog food is also about integrity, at home and in the office. When we teach our children how to behave, are we leading by example? Do we consistently demonstrate the behaviors that we want our children’s to exhibit? Similarly, think about your employees or co-workers or other people that you influence in the business world. Mark my words: they are watching you! If your words and your deeds differ, which do you believe most people will assign the most value to? You know the answer.
Actions speak louder than words.
Heard that one before? We are all human and I’m not suggesting that perfection is necessary to be a leader of a family or a business organization. Nevertheless, we leaders must hold ourselves accountable, must look in the mirror and ask the tough question; Am I leading by example? If your answer is “no”, time to set a goal! Get better … get better again … get better even more … until the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”!
It is a supremely satisfying feeling to know that you are setting a good example for others to follow. That dog food will taste pretty good too.
All the best,
By the way, I don’t charge extra for typos. They are my gift to you.