Twenty years and counting, John sat in his chair, still confused about the purpose of his role and the purpose of the company. Objectives were not being met, new people were leaving a mere six months into their employment, the company is full of bureaucracy, and people have no idea what the future of the company will look like in the next five years.
John felt depressed, uninspired, unmotivated, and finally decided to leave his job to follow his heart to pursue something that provided some sense of fulfillment to his life and, more importantly, the people who he decided to serve.
This story sound so familiar, many organization holding on by shoestring of existence, quite comfortable with being average as opposed to being extraordinary. Organizations with these tendencies tend to be over-manage and under led, and unfortunately, the people who manage these companies are so blinded by their limitations; they block any attempt by anyone to make any degree of changes in the company.
Great organizations, the ones that continue to dominate their industry and frustrate their competition, are grounded in what I called the five pillars of inspirational leadership. These organizations understand that without these foundational variables in place, any attempt to become extraordinary cannot happen. Every decision, every strategic development, every recruitment is aligned to these pillars and they sets the tone for the organization’s continued relevance that produces fanatical loyalty toward the leadership, and by extension, the organization.
What are they? Let’s look at each one in detail.
The most critical skill leaders need today is empathy because leadership is all about people and relationships. Whether you’re the leader of a small team, the manager of a large retail store, or the CEO of a global corporation, your people make your organization successful. To continually inspire your people to perform at their optimum best, you must understand the perspectives of your people, and you must give them the respect they deserve, which is reflected in the service provided to their customers.
Purpose-driven companies are successful for a reason. According to Jeff Fromm, a brand with a definite purpose not only helps the overall good of society but also helps customers know what they stand for. In a world in which consumers can quickly find out if a brand is acting on their promise, brands must be transparent, create connections, and a strong relevance with their consumers. Every company was founded with a core purpose. Still, many have neglected their origins on the journey to scale revenue growth or have struggled to evolve it—usually because of complacency, lethargy, or the fear of polarizing customers. Companies that stand for something bigger than just what they sell typically deliver higher levels of commercial success because they mean much more to their customers.
Great organizations have great visionary leaders who can see what isn’t yet there and create what does not yet exist. They know the way forward while the world reacts. They see something no one else can’t see, and most importantly, they feel it in their heart and boldly go after it until their vision comes to fruition. According to the late great Dr. Myles Munroe, the greatest gift God ever gave us is not the gift of sight but the gift of vision. Sight is a function of your eyes, but vision is a function of your heart.
In many companies, values are not informing policies and behaviors. When this happens, there is a misalignment between the company’s values and vision. What do I mean? In Lex Sisney's article Warning: Vision & Values Can Kill Your Company, Mr. Sisney illustrates the point that an organization needs a shared and compelling vision so everyone can understand where the company is going. Additionally, a company must also embody a shared code of values, so everyone is clear on the mode of acceptable behavior and, more importantly, what isn’t acceptable behavior. Without that alignment, a company will tend to drift in all different directions with no clear purpose that produce toxic cultures
For any organization to achieve any degree of success, the leadership must adopt open and honest communication. Leaders must learn how to communicate correctly as this will not only help their teams to become successful but also enable organizations to achieve success and growth.
Southwest, Virgin, Nike, Dove, Zappos, Toms, EILEEN FISHER, and a host of many great companies outlive their competition and inspire their people to believe that they achieve anything possible. They operate with these core pillars embedded in their organization; these are not something new, they have been around longer than I have known myself. So why it is that many companies are struggling to implement these basic concepts in their leadership and organization, when all the research in the world have shown that these pillars allow your organization to become very successful.
John eventually started his company and ensured that his team is motivated and inspired every day at their work. John finally understood that empathy, purpose, vision, values, and communication are the pillars that hold his leadership and by extension his organization together. Any separation, deviation, or compromise with these pillars will open up his company to a world of average possibilities.
The Inspirational Leader
"Your limitation—it’s only your imagination, become an inspirational leader"
You can download a copy of my book The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking on the link below