(Intro from Part 1: Businesses are becoming more complex. It’s harder to predict outcomes because intricate systems interact in unexpected ways.
Staying on track is much easier with a guide or checklist. Michael Useem, a professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of The Leadership Moment, has published The Leader’s Checklist to create a clear roadmap for navigating any situation. I will present in the blog in condensed form, with sample questions accompanying each principle.)
6. Motivate the Troops, and Honor the Front Lines: Appreciate the distinctive intentions that people bring to their work; build on diversity to bring out the best in people. Delegate authority except for strategic decisions. Stay close to those who are most directly engaged with the enterprise’s work.
Business consultant Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action created a diagram called “The Golden Circle,” which represents how successful leaders and companies motivate people.
Those who start with why engage others’ brains long before explaining how they intend to get things done and addressing what they need to accomplish.
Martin Luther King Jr. engaged the world’s hearts and minds when he started his speech with those four famous words: “I have a dream.” He stressed that people of all races needed to bond for a better future. He didn’t say, “I have a plan,” or explain how he intended to change laws and practices.
Starting communications with “why” works because it’s based in biology. While messages are simultaneously processed by all parts of the brain, the area most responsible for decision-making registers subconscious thoughts, lacks language, uses gut intuition, and is heavily influenced by feelings and drives for survival.
This part of the brain wants to know: What’s in it for me? Is this pleasure or pain? A threat or something that will make my life easier? Can I trust the messenger? Does he/she have my best interests at heart?
When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.
You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with what you want them to do. You must first communicate why it’s important.
a. Have you identified each person’s “hot button” and focused on it?
b. Do you work personal pride and shared purpose into most communications?
c. Are you keeping some ammunition dry for those urgent moments when you need it?
d. Have you made your intent clear and empowered those around you to act?
e. Do you regularly meet with those in direct contact with customers?
f. Can your people communicate their ideas and concerns to you?