We think it is time to take charge and say farewell to conventional thinking and business-as-usual. Why, because unemployment and under employment figures continue to haunt us and the reality of an economic “recovery” is relative depending upon whom you ask.
Recovery requires bold, gutsy, and ambitious leadership. It means everyone must play different and everyone must be accountable for shaking it up. Success will elude those who are unwilling to engage like crazy and develop leaders at all levels.
It’s time to dust off the training budget and reallocate funds dedicated specifically to growing, stretching and developing people. Dedicated people who have been committed to doing more with less are the real reason why you are still in business.
An organization’s success is as much the will of the people as it is the will of the executive team. In order to move an organization in bold new directions, you must do it through people. It requires leadership everywhere. Leadership is a choice, it is not a position, a title, a gene – it is not a part of your DNA. Leadership is a bold, confident and deliberate choice you make because you WANT to add value and make a difference.
Take note, the organizations filled with gutsy, bold, and confident leaders, those willing to shake things up and charge the hill determined to win, will find that the field is uncrowded. Success belongs to those organizations willing to invest in leadership.
FIVE WAYS TO BEGIN FUELING LEADERSHIP...
1. Choose to think big and act bold.
“What does the organization need right now?”
“Do we have the best people with the best skills in the best places?” If not, how can we shake things up and help people give their best to add more value?"
“What talents, skills, and/or recommendations can I contribute to help move the organization in the right direction?”
Your drive for making your organization better and doing something worthwhile, must be bigger than your fear of failure. It’s your choice; will it be your moment to lead and to act for the greater good – or will you retreat and lay low because of fear?
Think Big/Act Bold. As you start your day, always make a conscious commitment to doing your best. Before you call it a day, add value, do something bold, make your piece of society better! Be gutsy, lead wherever you are planted.
2. Define a big, inspiring cause.
What values do your products and services bring the world?
For inspiration and ideas, benchmark companies that are making a difference. Companies that are making products and offering services that are improving the world.
TOMS is a great example. While Blake Mycoskie was doing The Amazing Race, he befriended children in Argentina without shoes. Children without shoes cannot go to school. In addition, when children go barefoot, they are exposed to diseases and infections that can kill them. Blake wanted to help, so he founded TOMS and inspired a movement, the “One for One Movement.” For every pair of shoes purchased, another pair is donated to a child in need. As of September 2010, more than one million pairs of shoes have been donated to children who can now go to school and realize their potential. This company defines cool, check it out: host a corporate party, TOMS calls it a Style your Sole party. Your team can design their own shoes and in the process give back! What a great way to open or close a corporate meeting.
Think Big/Act Bold. Benchmarking cool companies inspires us to think beyond business and work-as-usual. Who in your corner of the world needs you to notice, step up and make the world better?
Encourage your team to talk about what’s really COOL about what you and your organization provide – what is the noble purpose, the value add?
Now find some clever inexpensive ways to celebrate your coolness and tell your story! When people sense that they are contributing to the greater good, work becomes a calling. And when people are working toward a cause or a calling, they are far more motivated to engage and deliver! No denying, we gain more personal fulfillment and professional satisfaction at work when we understand how our contribution makes a difference.
3. Choose to be gutsy.
Embrace change, deal with turmoil, and make tough decisions courageously. Don’t waste your time focusing on things you cannot control. Focus forward. Ask:
What CAN be done?
Where do we want to take this organization?
What do we want to achieve?
Once you know the answers, work like crazy to get everyone involved in creative solutions to make it happen. When others see you working fearlessly toward a clearly defined vision and understand that you want and value their input, they are more likely to engage and commit to the journey as well.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Think Big/Act Bold. Ask more than you tell. People have ideas and insights, and they want to champion change if they have a hand in charting the course. Gutsy leaders invite all people, at all levels to participate in making the organization bigger, better, and stronger by requesting input and encouraging action.
4. Celebrate people and projects.
Stop being so conservative; tell your story.
Think Big/Act Bold. Start a bragging lunch, an internal brag blog, or a telebrag conference call that celebrates and shows gratitude for small and large contributions. Brag about and honor the people who are your champions of change. Show and tell the ways they are doing it. The things you celebrate say a lot about what you value.
Success breeds success. As you share cool ideas, people will be inspired; and watch out, they, too, will rise to the occasion. When people feel like they are moving in the right direction and doing things worth bragging about, it increases optimism, energy, and momentum. It creates a movement!
5. Lighten up and start having fun.
Things have gotten way to intense; too serious, we’ve lost our passion for balancing work and fun. We understand, it’s tough to think about encouraging fun with our economy still in question. But what’s the alternative? More of the same!
Having fun and being professional are not mutually exclusive. Fun is a major form of differentiation; fun creates energy, stimulates creativity, and boosts productivity and performance! Fun makes doing even mundane tasks more pleasant. When people are having fun at work, it’s like adding fuel to a fire. Fun is like a nutrient we crave; we gravitate toward fun people, events, companies, and leaders.
We ask audiences around the world, “Who likes to work with fun people?” Every hand goes up! We ask, “Who likes to do business with fun people?” And again, all hands go up. Careful though, you can’t legislate fun! Trust us, we’ve seen a few mandatory fun programs flop! So instead of expecting fun or requiring it, choose to be the example. Your own willingness to be more fun and participate in it demonstrates the importance you place on fun.
If we asked your colleagues if you’re fun to work with, what would they say?
Think Big/Act Bold. Give your colleagues the freedom to have fun – you’ll all be far more productive. Fun is contagious. Misery is too; so what do you want to fuel, productivity or misery?
Personal change precedes organizational change; so look in the mirror and ask, “Am I thinking, acting and leading big?”
Gather your team, share this article, and ask EVERYONE to think big, act bold and LEAD. Then hold each other accountable.