It’s important to pay attention to what people say. But the real measure of a man is in what he does.
Take politicians for example. They love to talk and promise the world to get elected. Once elected, however, they very often disappoint their constituents by not following through with what they promised.
So how can you tell if you’ve elected a good leader or a total dud? You look at their actions. How did they vote on issues if they were previously elected? Did they vote at all or were they absent most of the time? If they were a private citizen prior to being elected, what did they do? How did they act?
The same action based principles hold true with businesses. Advertisements and mission statements might get me in the door. But it’s the way employees treat me or the way a manager handles a problem I may have with their product or service that determines if I become a loyal client or not.
In today’s information driven world there’s a lot of talk and little action. This makes it hard, but not impossible, to judge character. It definitely takes a bit of work. But by observing actions, regardless of intent, we can form a pretty good model of who people are.