Symbols, Smiles, and Walking the Talk

A debate raged (more or less) in a couple of sets of Comments on “style” versus “substance.” In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer, style is substance for leaders. I’ve always taken a shine to the oft-repeated Gandhi-ism, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I ran across a companion expression recently, from St. Francis of Assisi: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

In honor of these ideas, I have created a PowerPoint/Special Presentation, lightly annotated, which is my best effort to make these points. It comes under the generic heading of my favorite me-ism, God forbid: Hard is soft. Soft is Hard.

I’d be honored if you’d look at the Special Presentation, titled “Symbolic Behavior/Smile/Respect,” and continue the earlier dialogue.

(Incidentally, our collection of probably 25+ Special Presentations is not for my seminar Clients—the special PPTs exclusively appear at

Tom Peters posted this on December 9, 2008, in Leadership.
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