There is a whole universe of things you could do, so why do you lead? That is a serious question and your answer has quite serious consequences for you, the people you lead and the organization that is counting on you. That organization could be your shop and it also could be your family, your community and perhaps much more.
This is connected to Simon Sinek’s Start With Why principle and attendees to my keynotes and workshops experience this through an exercise of identifying their True North, their core reason. It is an orienting statement of your why, and your clarity about that will help you to avoid taking crazy side trips away from what is most important. It will also provide guidance to those who look to you for leadership so that they help to move things in the right direction. And your people just might find inspiration in your True North so that they want to give their best.
In a Harvard Business Review article entitled, Why You Lead Determines How Well You Lead, author Tom Kolditz expands on the findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of a study of 10,000 graduates of The Military Academy at West Point. Bottom line: The leaders who perform the best are those who are intrinsically motivated by values. Here is an example.
Those who are motivated by a dedication to serve (intrinsic motivation) perform better than those who are motivated by advancement possibilities (extrinsic motivation). Interestingly, those who are motivated by both actually under-perform those who are solely intrinsically motivated (dedication to serve). Perhaps that’s why shops like Patagonia, Whole Foods and Zappos consistently do so well. They are values-driven organizations, led by leaders who declare their values (intrinsic).
Want to have a look at a piece of clarity about this? Bob McDonald is the incoming head of the Veterans Administration – and we surely need great leadership there – and he published a clear and compelling statement What I Believe In. Read it and then decide if you find yourself inspired, whether you would follow him and want to give your best. I’m guessing you would.
The people looking to you for leadership want that same kind of intrinsic clarity from you. It doesn’t have to be a 3-page document. One sentence will do just fine.
Go ahead. Write yours and share it. Attend a Fully Alive Leadership keynote or workshop and we’ll help guide you in doing that.
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