Most leaders got into the position they are 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. 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 future has their name on it and not only want to be a part of it, but also 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. As George Bernard Shaw said,
“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 from leaders in the last decade; Steve Jobs at Apple declared there would be “an Apple on every desk,” Jeff Bezos of Amazon had the originating mantra of “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 present this vision to their employees, such that it’s almost tangible and certainly doable. By doing this, a leader ensures 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.
So, how do you do this? By walking people through the vision ~ what it will take, how it will unfold, and underlining the benefits and rewards.
At Leadera, part of our ‘Being a Leader’ course teaches participants a 9-point, step-by-step formula in which we train leaders on 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, making it tangible for them so that they want to participate in delivering it.
The 9 points (in order) include:
- Background connection
- The vision
- Actions needed
- Sense of urgency
- Benefits and rewards
- Hardball issues
- Appreciation and acknowledgement
Use these 9 points to get your people to “buy in” to your message and want to fulfill it. 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.
Interested in learning more? Let us bring this 9-point formula to you and your leadership team. For more information, reach out to us at the emails below.
Kevin Cullen is President of Leadera Consulting Group, specializing in producing breakthrough business results. For more information on this course or other business challenges we can help you solve, contact us at Leadera Consulting Group.