“Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi –
When the band Rush was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Hame in 2013, their lead guitarist, Alex Lifeson, gave an acceptance speech that became an instant classic. (Fast forward to 4:40 in the video below).
Lifeson sends up the proceedings by using nonsense words and actions whose meaning make perfect sense to anyone who is paying attention. To me, his message is clearer than that of someone using actual words if only because his approach is so captivating and so inventive.
How many times do you tune out when yet another talking head spouts more words? How many times can you predict what’s coming next when your organization’s leaders address the troops; offering one tired cliché, sports or military metaphor after another? How often do they preach the gospel of the expected, the safe, the known because that’s what’s in the script?
This is a time of meaning and connection. We need leaders who understand that breaking away from conventional approaches and showing us who they are – as openly, creatively and thoughtfully as possible – is what makes us want to follow them.
Yes, words can be truly powerful but “Blah, Blah, Blah” will do just fine if the message and meaning are clear; if the messenger is ready, willing and able to live the message.