You may have noticed that I’m a bit of a sports fan and I always find it fascinating how often what happens in sports can be related to small business. I’m still recovering from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs where LeBron James scored 29 of the last 30 points to lead his team to victory in double overtime.
If you were watching that game and weren’t at least a little bit inspired, I think you better check your pulse! Even if you’re a Pistons fan, you had to marvel at how one person with such amazing focus and determination can simply will his team to victory.
Obviously not everyone has the natural talent of a LeBron James, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carry your “team” on your back to victory once in a while. After all, what’s more inspirational to the troops than seeing their leader lead by example?
If you run an organization of any type, whether it be your business, a non-profit, or your local PTA, people are looking to you for inspiration and leading by example.
Many organizations I’ve been part of as well as ones I’ve had the opportunity to observe from the outside that are struggling, never have an inspirational leader. Usually the leaders of those organizations either follow the old “command and control” model that was developed by the military, or they are simply holding firm to what has been done in the past even if it’s not working.
A common mistake made by leaders of many organizations is they feel the need to have answers for everything vs. the true goal of being able to get the best out of all the people involved to arrive at the best possible solution no matter whose idea it is.
It’s very difficult to get those best ideas if the people in your organization are not feeling inspired and engaged. Here are a couple of ways to help bring that inspiration:
1. Provide a clear and challenging vision for where the organization is going
2. Look for examples outside of your particular company or industry to use as a model or example for how this can be done
3. Get rid of phrases such as “I can’t” and replace them with phrases like “How can we make this happen”
If you haven’t had the chance to see or here Mike Rayburn perform,you should check him out. I saw Mike perform last year and he made a couple of very interesting points.
First, he said ask two questions: “What if” and “Why not”. You can apply these to pretty much any challenge or opportunity you are facing in any organization or in your life. I mean, how else do you explain Dan Fogelberg singing AC/DC or Bob Marley singing Garth Brooks? Instead of focusing on why you can’t do something, dare to dream a little by asking these two questions. It helps free up the mind and get your creative juices flowing.
Second, Mike told the story of how shortly after college he wrote a song he couldn’t play with his guitar but he thought it would be really cool to play it. Within a couple year period, he was able to pull together enough pieces to actually play the song. His message was that once you know where you’re going the world opens up to you and presents a solution. Mike called this “writing music you can’t currently play.”
If you want to challenge the people in your organization and get the best out of them, how about starting with writing some music you can’t currently play that people within your organization agree would be pretty cool if you could play. Then not only will the world open up to you, but it will open up to them as well and the solution will be presented.