Most leaders got into the position they’re in by being competent managers making things happen, solving problems, and getting the trains to run on time. However, simply managing the present is insufficient when one is a leader because a leader’s job is really to focus on the future and create a vision for the future that inspires their people to make it happen. Job #1 of a leader is to have a vision that is compelling, inspiring and achievable. Job #2 is to share that vision with their constituents in such a way that their people see that that future has their name on it, and that they not only want to be a part of it, but will own it in such a way that it comes to fruition. People want to make a difference. They want to have their lives matter; quoting George Bernard Shaw ~ “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Creating the vision to engage others is tricky, because the vision needs to be articulated in such a way that people can hear it, identify with it, and want to participate in it. There are many examples of such leaders in the last decade ~ for example Steve Jobs at Apple declared there would be “an Apple on every desk”, Jeff Bezos at Amazon whose originating mantra was “Get Big Fast” and, Elon Musk at Tesla is known for his vision of “Anywhere on earth in under one hour.” Each of them has demonstrated the importance of this vital aspect of leadership by stepping way out into the future, creating a vision for their company for what’s possible and then going after it with gangbusters. Part of this brilliance has to do with the way they are able to presence this vision for their employees such that it’s almost tangible and certainly doable. By doing this a leader is ensured that people in their company become a part of implementing the vision. Most people know that 70% of strategic initiatives fail in corporations. Getting your people to buy into the vision gives you a huge advantage for success.
How do they do this? They do it by walking people through the vision ~ what it will take, how it will unfold, and underlining the benefits and rewards. At Leadera Consulting we have a 9-point, step-by-step formula for this skill set in which we train leaders how to deliver a powerful leadership message focusing on the future. When leaders design a message using these 9 points (in order) they find that their people are able to connect with the vision, having it become tangible and wanting to participate in delivering it.
The 9 points are:
- Background connection
- The vision
- Actions needed
- Sense of urgency
- Benefits and rewards
- Hardball issues
- Appreciation and acknowledgement
It is important that the message be designed and delivered in this order. We have found that this particular order is consistent with the way people think. For more details on this step-by-step process please follow this link to our website ~ https://leaderacg.com/2018/03/28/the-power-of-your-leadership-message/
The bottom line is successful leaders love to inspire their people. Getting your people to “buy in” to your message is what allows for the message being fulfilled. When done well, inspiration leads others into action. But keep in mind that message and that inspiration has no shelf life on its own. A successful leader will build regular and consistent reminders into the workplace that reinforce the message. Inspiration must be shored-up with actions. Consider designing how to get your people “on board”, and how to keep them there.
Kevin Cullen is President of Leadera Consulting Group, specializing in producing breakthrough business results. If you want more on this conversation or the firm, contact us at Leadera Consulting Group.
Kevin Cullen: firstname.lastname@example.org, cc: email@example.com