Have you ever been inspired to change your life in a significant way? Maybe you were feeling depressed or dealing with a very challenging situation in your life that made you very miserable. Or you were dealing with a significant change at work, and your leader inspired and motivated you and your team through the entire process.
I can remember two years ago, somewhere around October, I was dealing with a crisis that challenged my sanity. I always pride myself to be cool and calm under pressure circumstances but this one, wow, tested my mental. One morning, while I was driving my daughter to school, my facial expression changed and to be quite honest, I wasn’t even aware, my daughter said “daddy why are you looking so angry” with a pitiful worry look on her face. Her eyes began to swell with tears because she never saw her daddy looked like that before.
I immediately check myself, and I remember what the late Dr. Myles Munroe said, "everything has a season, if you are dealing with a crisis it will not last." Some leaders have a gift for inspiring and motivating people to believe in the impossible. So I often wondered, how do you become inspirational?
Challenge The Status Quo
Inspiration comes in many forms; song, poetry, movies, experiences, etc. but the underlying conduit for all inspiration is communication. When you feel inspired you become confident, you feel important, you automatically see solutions instead of problems, and that feeling somehow spreads to others.
For some, it comes natural, but for others, it is something they have to work on because they understand the power of communication and the effect it has on people. For instances in 2008, Starbucks was forced to close 600 stores in the US, its profit fell 28 percent and in 2009, it closed another 300 stores and laid off 6,700 employees. During that time, the company’s Chairman, Howard Schultz returned as CEO to lead the transformation to return the company back to its glory days.
One of Schulz primary weapons used in the turnaround of Starbucks was communication. When he came back, Schultz surprised everyone when he took 10,000 store managers to New Orleans for a conference, yes, 10,000 managers in the midst of the worse time in the company history. A lot of people did not understand his decision, but Schultz knew if people were reminded of the company character and values, everyone could make a difference.
Embrace Your Vulnerability
The conference was about galvanizing the entire leadership of the company—being vulnerable and transparent with their employees about how desperate the situation was, and making them understand that everyone, must be personally accountable and responsible for the outcome of every single customer interaction. Schulz used his strength as an excellent communicator to galvanize support for his turnaround. The recovery of Starbucks started with that emotional reconnection with the values of the company by the leadership.
Howard Schultz inspired everyone at Starbucks to believe in the core purpose of the company again, and as a result, the company experienced a resurgence, surpassing all its company projections, and cemented their status as the leader in their industry, and one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Communication brings inspiration to life and if your company is involved in a change, your communication becomes critical. Any company regardless of its size, location, industry or sector will be involved in some form of change, it is inevitable. The world is extremely dynamic, and as the leader, you will have the responsibility to lead the change by example.
As the leader, you are required to understand the crucial role communication plays during the change process because ultimately, it will determine if your change efforts are successful. When you are armed with the knowledge, understanding, and application of communication in a changing environment, you will become a dynamic, motivating and an inspirational leader who can lead any change successfully and inspire anyone to believe in the impossible.