Facta, Non Verba : Operating with an Action Bias

February 7, 2019

By Amy McDonald, FONA President

It’s early in the year, and I’m thinking about one of my favorite expressions – and it seems fitting at a time of new beginnings.

Facta, non verba.

You might know this expression better as “actions speak louder than words.” But there is even a little more nuance to this Latin expression that is very fitting to this time of year – especially for businesses focused on growth.

Actions, not just words

Do you ever find yourself saying “I need to” more than you’d like? When I find myself saying I need to (or “we need to”) again and again on the same topic, I know it’s time to stop for some mirror reflections. What’s happening here? If we need to do something, why isn’t it happening? Well, I find there are only three possible answers:

1. If we do “need to” and we are just not taking action…
The solution is: Act now. Get unstuck and GO.

2. If we are taking-action, but the actions aren’t working…
The solution: It’s time to think and act differently. Quickly come up with a new approach and GO.

3. If we don’t really need to? It’s a stagnant idea that always sounds good, but in practicality has little impact on our ability to grow the business...
Solution: prove it, drop it, pick something with greater impact and GO.

The gap between words and action

What is our lag time between when we say we are going to do something and when we actually do it? In that critical time between when we say it and when we actually do it what opportunities are passing us by, what problems have a chance to grow bigger, and what momentum do we lose in this void?

At FONA, our differentiation often comes down to our sense of urgency. But we’re always pushing to improve, finding ways to move faster (and smarter.)

Consider this: It is a little easier when responding to something someone asks for. When someone is waiting on you to take action, we all tend to move quickly. But what about those proactive initiatives, essential to business growth? We know that the real impact is how we create a sense of urgency within ourselves to make our words real. Do we do what we say we will – and do so with a sense of urgency?

Actions are the proof of our words

We know this. At FONA, we could say we are a high-service company, but we always must prove it with our actions with customers. We can say we are a FONA Family but we must prove it in the way we care for each other. We can say that results matter but we must prove it by delivering results and owning our shortfalls. Actions are what build trust. Words without congruent and consistent action are disingenuous- destroying trust. Words are a promise that actions must fulfill.

And finally, on mediocrity & inaction

I mentioned this quote in an earlier post -- and it’s advice I take to heart. Some words of wisdom from FONA’s founder Joe Slawek: “Demonstrate a bias towards action. Growth only comes from activity. Mediocrity due to inaction will always cost us more than failure.”

To sum up: you risk so much more when you fail to act. If you take action and fail – at least you’ve learned a lesson. Standing still, frozen – it’s simply not an option. (I talked a bit about this in my last post.)

Whichever way we examine the phrase “Facta, non verba” I see a path to results and impact.  Words don’t create value. Words don’t grow the business. Even these words that I share with you don’t mean anything if I personally do not take action.

Moving Forward…

How about your business? In what ways do you or your colleagues decipher what really needs to be done? How do you take action and GO?

We’re always happy to hear from you. Visit www.fona.com/chat, or email feedback@fona.com.

Thanks for reading,