The first step in achieving any dream, any goal, is sincere and fundamental belief in the reality of what you’re setting out to do. There can be no room for doubt, even, perhaps even especially, in the face of obstacles and difficulty.
Vision is the leader’s greatest tool for unification. Take a team that is fragmented, disassociated, and disillusioned, and you will most often find at it’s core a lack or loss of vision. Fundamentally, a lack of vision is the easiest problem to solve. The group that has never been brought together for the sake of a common goal finds itself inspired and quickened when presented with a clear and focused purpose. Like people thirsty for water, they will spill themselves into the current of a vision for what they can accomplish together.
Altogether different is the body of individuals who have had at one time or another enjoyed the soul-inspiring motivation of a clear vision for their future. When that vision shatters or melts away into broken promises and failed commitments, reigniting this team can be one of the most difficult challenges a leader can face. Motivating this group will take determined leadership and focus.
1.) The Vision must have a clear goal.
See the End. You, as the leader, must be able to clearly and plainly see in your mind’s eye what the culmination of the team’s vision will be. See the finish line. See the final score. Know without doubt what success looks like. Your team will need to understand the purpose in their efforts and it will be your responsibility to show it to them. You’ll need to give them a clear picture of what the end looks like for the team, the value in the group’s arrival at the destination, and the motivating force drawing them as a group toward that end. Leader, you must also be able to paint a picture individually for each member of your organization. Be able to communicate why it is vital that EACH of them be a part of the success, and be able to share what success will look like uniquely for each of them.
2.) Don’t Force the Journey
Seeing the End will ensure that you are constantly moving in the right direction, but the road will be fraught with obstacles. The visionary leader is able to focus not on the obstacle immediately delaying progress, but on the goal that the team is moving towards. In finding your way above the fray to see clearly into the distance and maintain your hold on the End, you can guide your team around the unknowable journey. If you plan each and every step, and give yourself no room for flexibility, knowing that the End remains the priority, you’ll be hopelessly delayed and bogged down.
3.) Remain ABSOLUTELY Confident in Success
Know in your deepest heart that you will reach the End. Before you can lead, before you can challenge, and before you can motivate, you must find that place within yourself where you are completely convinced of your team’s ability to reach the End, and you must live there every day. Find confidence in the skill and ability of your people, be strong in the success of your systems and challenge the status quo daily, but in all, remain steadfast in your personal knowledge that at the conclusion of the journey, after every obstacle, you and your team will arrive at the End. Communicate this confidence every day. Make it part of your vocabulary, shape every thought around that piece of absolute truth – we will succeed.
We’re six months in. Can you believe it? 2014 has flown by in a blur of activity and busyness, like most years do. Have you stopped to ask yourself – What have I gotten done?
When I was in high school, I played soccer for our school’s team. At the start of one of our games, our coach told us, “The game plan is simple – we need to score twice as many points as the other guys.” 45 minutes in, we came into the locker room for halftime. We were losing 2-0. Our coach was quiet for a minute, then he said, “Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is, we only have half the time we did when we started. The good news is, our game plan hasn’t changed.”
Most people get into the summer months, and let off the gas. The beginning of the year is busy, busy, busy. Planning and new initiatives and quarterly focus gets us into our zone and it’s easy in that thrall of productivity to put blinders on and lose sight of the bigger picture. The goals and objectives we set for ourselves and for our organizations become lost in the process, or forgotten or abandoned because of new obstacles or priorities.
Advantages are hard to come by, and often the best ones come when we create them for ourselves. There is an opportunity halfway through the year to take a step back and hit your own personal reset button, to look at your plan, at your priorities, and at your goals, in an effort to make sure you’re being as productive and effective as you can be.
1.) Look at your resources.
Working the budget is one the most tedious projects of our daily grind. Constant checking and rechecking to make sure we’re in compliance and hitting our numbers. The spreadsheet defines us after a while – it’s our cross to carry and there is no escaping it. Our world is limited to the four little gray lines of those spreadsheet cells.
What would you do for your business if you had 1 million dollars to spend however you wanted? Would you invest in training for your people? In recruitment for a future generation? In wellness and health programs for your team? In expansion and growth into new markets?
The important question whether or not those things are only important if the money is free. Are those things not worth investing in if you don’t have an extra million bucks lying around? Take a hard look at your resources – have you gotten so wrapped up in the demands of the budget that you’re missing opportunities to utilize what you have in better ways?
2.) Invest in yourself
Do you take enough time to work on making yourself a better version of the person you want to be? It’s very easy, in the daily grind of our routines, to spend effort and energy on the people around us. We invest in them, we work with them, we coach and train and lead them. But often, when all of that energy has been spent, there is nothing left over for ourselves.
The limitations to what we can accomplish are only as low as the limitations we put on ourselves. The investments you make into becoming a better person, leader, coach, co-worker, husband, mom, or whatever you are doing with your life will give you the greatest and most tangible return. It’s a positive investment that produces dividends across all circles of life – professional, personal, and community.
Read books, go to workshops, find a mentor – find ways that you can invest time and energy into becoming the version of yourself that you want to be. Make positive change happen in your life.
3.) Be a part of the solution.
What would you do if, tomorrow, you found out that you are the new CEO of your company? What changes would you make? What things would you add immediately to your organization? What things do you think need to go?
The best change in any organization starts from within – from the minds and hearts of the people who keep the wheels turning every day. Nobody is better positioned than you are to start meaningful growth and innovation in your organization than you are – so go do it. Find like-minded people. Be creative and courageous in your thinking and be vocal about supporting your ideas. The world needs people who will challenge the status quo for the benefit of the great good.
2014 is not over yet. There are six months full of potential ahead of us. While the rest of the world is lost in the mundane, just trying to make it to the holidays, seize the opportunity to reactivate your thinking, to energize your perspective, and to make change happen.
Attitude is everything in life – it’s an indisputable, undeniable fact. And, the great thing about attitude is that it is and remains the one thing in life that you always maintain absolute control over. Attitude is a choice. That perspective and personality that you bring to your tasks every day are the result of a decision that you made – today, yesterday, or a year ago – about your attitude toward those objectives.
Success is the result of positive attitude, intense personal commitment, and consistent effort. How are you going to make yourself successful today?