It's probably true that most people who work with us will never care as deeply as we do about building our business and serving our clients. If they did, they'd probably be working for themselves.
Yet there's a great deal we can do to raise the level of their commitment and inspire them to peak performance. The operative word in the preceding sentence is inspire. You can demand that people who work for you be punctual, or that they perform at a certain level of output, or even that they do things reasonably well. Yet real commitment can only be inspired. And, inspiring people is what great leaders like John F. Kennedy and Lee Iaccoca did best.
How do great leaders such as these inspire others to commit themselves to their goals? It's not just that they have charismatic personalities, or that they give a lot of high-powered motivational talks. What they do is communicate their vision so forcefully that other people adopt it as their own vision.
For example, in the early sixties, President Kennedy set his sights on putting a man on the moon, and told the American people "We can do it!" He said it with such conviction that masses of people believed it and committed themselves to making it happen. And, sure enough, in less than a decade, the first human being had walked on the moon.
Lee Iaccoca stepped into the ailing Chrysler Corporation and said "We're going to turn this company around!" With clear goals, a solid plan of action, and a strong conviction, he was able to inspire enough commitment from the U.S. Congress that he secured the largest loan ever made to a private company. Then he inspired enough commitment in thousands of Chrysler workers to enable the company to pay back the loan ahead of schedule.
That's the formula for any leader to inspire commitment - clear goals, a solid plan of action, and a strong conviction. If you can communicate that to the people who work with you, you will have the kind of loyalty that makes them go the second mile. And the third and fourth miles if that's what it takes to get the job done.
Of course, it takes more than inspiration to run a successful organization. The people who work with you have to consistently perform at very high levels. And to get that kind of performance, you have to gain their trust. They have to believe that you will always be fair in your dealings with them and that you are concerned about their best interests.
One of the most helpful insights I ever learned about leading others is that people do things for their reasons, not for your reasons or for mine. So the goals, the plan of action, and the strong conviction have to be communicated in a way that directly answers the question: "What's in it for me?"
When people honestly believe they will benefit directly from their efforts, and that the more they give the more they will benefit, they will perform at peak levels. So it's crucial that you show people how they will grow as they work individually and together to make the company grow, and then back up all your promises with solid actions.
People don't back good causes. They respond to clear opportunities for personal and professional growth. If I may paraphrase the Hallmark slogan, when people care enough, they'll give their very best!
But how can you move past the empty rhetoric and translate your vision into concrete actions your people can identify with and get excited about? Let me suggest ten proven techniques for building a solid team:
It takes a lot of patience and effort to build a solid team of people who will share and help you fulfill your vision, but the results will be well worth all you put into it.
Nido Qubein is an international speaker and accomplished author on sales, communication, and leadership. He is president of High Point University, which has an enrollment of 4,000 students. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 220 stores in 43 states.
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