Leaders need to communicate their vision. Do you help everyone around you see, taste, and feel it? Make it irresistible. Use words and pictures. Use music. Move as you speak. Do not stop until each team member is inspired and filled with the desire to make the “dream” a reality.
Before I speak to an audience, I always remind myself of an important rule: Be a novel, not a newspaper. Newspapers are usually thrown away the next day. Novels may be reread and cherished for years. When I speak, people want more than newspaper headlines. They desire to know more than the basic facts. They want principles and stories that touch their five senses and emotions. They want to experience what I’m saying.
The same is true of your staff. If you want them to understand and catch your passion, you’ve got to give them more than the facts. Tell them the story behind your excitement and they’ll begin to latch onto your vision. Study your team members. Find for each of them a niche, a venue that best fits their strengths, skills and personalities, that one place that will ignite the fire of passion whose flame is inspiration. Bruce Woolpert, CEO of Granite Rock, a construction materials supplier in northern California, accomplished this through what he called the “Try-a-Job” program. It allowed any company worker to try his/her hand at a different company job for a day. A few employees even shadowed Woolpert in his role as company head. Another program gave employees promoted into new positions a thirty-day trial period. During that time, if they didn’t like their new job, they could go back to their old one, no questions asked.
As you describe your vision, take care to explain exactly how the dream can be reached. If your team does not clearly see how this can be done, the dream is merely smoke. Invite participation. You want your team to begin to think as one, with each member having input. When everyone is sharing their ideas, brainstorming, seizing on thoughts and theories and conceiving ways to put them into practice, you will have succeeded.
People are excited about coming to work when they understand the vision, know they have the opportunity to move up, try new things, and discover where they can make their greatest contributions.
Adapted excerpt from: “Inspired People Produce Results” – Jeremy Kingsley, McGraw-Hill (2013)