I have in the last couple of days discovered that my family moto is Facta Non Verba – in good olde Latin. For those not conversant with the ancient language of the Romans (myself included) this means “Deeds not words”. At least that’s what I have been told…….
I spend a good deal of my time thinking about the way people communicate and largely this focuses on the verbal communication that we use. After all, the words we use are necessary to be able to send and receive messages. Although verbal communication is supplemented with a wide variety of non verbal communication it is still this verbal communication that gets us through most of the day. Even with the expansive selection of technological wizardry, Social Media, e-mail, texts and the like, it is this communication that is conveying something; and is therefore something we have said, rather than done.
But what if things that are said aren’t all that important? What if it is better to just go and do it? Great importance is attached to the ability to communicate effectively, but could it be that in focusing too heavily on this, important actions are missed and not valued.
Do we enjoy announcing the deeds?
There are the simple things in life that are perhaps just better to do, like just going ahead to do the washing up. This does seem to be something that people enjoy announcing “I’m just going to do the washing up”… Or maybe making someone a cup of tea, or carrying their bag for them without needing to ask about it first. Some things do not always warrant discussion – ie, just do the deed and don’t worry about the words.
Can this apply to more complex scenarios too? The more complicated the subject, issue or task in question, the more there is some kind of “leap of faith to take”. Being proactive and doing that extra bit of research, or moving forward on a project a bit further than you have been asked rather than asking for verification of your work. These are things that you carry out because you feel they need to be done, or could be beneficial. Presumably if these deeds achieve the desired result then it is all good.
But then things are not always that simple. Being proactive is not always appreciated by everyone and sometimes things can end up going wrong. Making the assumption that you know what is needed does have it’s pitfalls. As the famous saying goes “assumption is the mother of all mistakes” ( I think this is Eugene Lewis Fordsworthe). Where some people are geared up to just get on with it and to go and do things, others like to make sure everyone is on the same page. They only feel comfortable moving forward in a direction that has been agreed and where there is shared knowledge.
Deeds not words? Or deeds and words?
The truth is that both these attributes should be valued. Just getting things done is important, and so is asking, telling, agreeing and sharing. As with many things, it is the balance that is key. It is making sure that in a workforce, group, team or family there are not only doers, or sayers, but both. Personally I am much more of a sayer, a discusser, a sharer and a lover of all things communication related, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I do. But it is good to remind myself of the “Facta Non Verba” and to be mindful of the fact that often it is important to just get on and do it.
Talking of which, why not get in touch to see see how I can help you and your team get more from their deeds and words?