I have the opportunity as an executive coach to sit in on different conferences around the world. In reflecting on the speeches of key executives, it amazes me how out of touch they seem to be with their rank and file. It’s not always obvious at first because they’ve rehearsed most of what they say. It’s when they adlib that they reveal their lack of consistency and authenticity. They give lip service to the changing world environment, but they haven’t fully incorporated these changes into their belief system. Their customers or employees won’t tolerate this kind of incongruity for long before they begin to push back.
Here’s the leadership tip: If you sense a disconnect between your belief system and the way the organization’s heading, don’t wait until you get push-back. Get someone who can speak truth to power, so that you address these blindspots. That way you’ll send a clear and compelling message when you step to the podium. You won’t have reason to fear your adlibbing.