Good leadership is a lot more than silly slogans, clever jingles or inspirational posters hanging on the walls.

silly slogansWe all know how important teamwork is.  It is critical to the success of the organization — quality produced, service delivered.  But why, then, do so many companies take such an important concept and trivialize it with cute quotes and slogans in a way that have no real connection with the workers they are designed to inspire?

One of my least favorite is There is no ‘I’ in team.  True, but how glib can you be?

An old friend worked for a company where the new CEO and his right-hand assistant loved to pepper staff meetings and client presentations with these lame sayings, feel-good quotes that, theoretically, were designed to encourage employees to work harder and do better work for the good of the team and, presumably the customers.

None of this rang true.  Employees didn’t believe it — everyone long ago had figured out that their bosses were Do as I say not as I do leaders.  The customers were less than impressed, the company’s products and service never seemed to live up to their cultural hype so there was high customer turnover.  In a competitive industry, the customers expected more than talk.

So did the employees.

Now more than ever, employers are seeking leaders who can deliver real value.  With a wave of consolidation and an abundance of talented leaders in the market, they can afford to be.  They are certainly not going to settle for a smoothie — a superficial fast talker.  An executive’s reputation today is more than the college or university they attended, where they worked or their reputation in industry.  Potential employers are zeroing in on a “must have” in a CEO, someone who can drive value, someone whose authenticity creates a corporate culture that is built around a passion for exceeding customer expectations, both in what they sell, and how they deliver it to their clients.

Superficial platitudes will not work.  Only honest leadership and a commitment to deliver results.

Employers and the customers are watching.