Have you ever wondered what one thing all successful leaders have in common?
First consider what all unsuccessful leaders have in common: they lack focus.
They either aren’t clear on what they’re trying to do, or they’re clear but aren’t doing the right things to achieve their objectives. Both waste money and other resources and leave organizations stuck in the status quo.
This affects leaders regardless of the size of type of organization and that’s why I wrote The Intention Imperative: 3 Essential Changes That Will Make You a Successful Leader Today.
What all great leaders have in common is intentionality: being crystal clear on what you’re trying to achieve and taking the right actions every day to achieve it.
Why do many business leaders lack clarity? And what is at stake because of it? Here are some of the main reasons:
- They inherited an unclear vision or never had one to begin with.
- There has been a triumph of operations over objectives—doing things without questioning why.
- Problems or even opportunities distracted them and took them off course.
- They were unwilling or unable to look at what was consistently being done with fresh perspective.
What are the symptoms and signs of a leader who lacks clarity?
- Constant changes in focus or direction
- Lack of momentum
- Confusion among employees and what to do
- Many team members asking why
- Frustration at every level
- Inconsistent action or behavior
In my book, The Intention Imperative: Three Changes to Make You a Successful Leader Today, I explain intentionality and then share what I believe are imperative changes leaders need to make today to succeed:
The shift from structure to culture, from motivation to inspiration and from experience to emotion.
Imperative 1 – Inspiration
“Inspiration doesn’t have to be mysterious or complicated to create. It is about understanding the important ‘whys’ of work and fulfilling them.”
What is inspiration? It is motivation to the power of purpose. It is linking meaning to motives.
John F. Kennedy said, “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
84% of millennials believe making a positive difference is more important than getting professional recognition. That speaks to the need for inspiration.
Inspiration doesn’t come from outside force or artificial causes. It develops from the work itself and how the leader is able to demonstrate importance and impact.
Imperative 2 – Culture
“Culture is what we think and believe, which then determines what we do and what we accomplish.”
Culture is the engine that drives what gets done and how it gets done.
Culture is one of the most talked about and least understood concepts in business today. In The Intention Imperative I teach the five levers you have for creating and maintaining the culture you desire.
Many if not most organizations have a culture by default, for good or for bad, but you can have a culture by design, and creating it is the job of a leader.
Imperative 3 – Emotion
“Emotions are everywhere and they are the single biggest factor in how we make decisions”
In the emotion economy, your grade isn’t pass/fail. The resulting emotional state you deliver is cumulative. A negative emotional experience can be offset with a positive one
The customer experience is important, but how the customer feels about that experience is critical. Few companies design and deliver for positive emotion.
So what now? Try these three things:
The shift from organization to culture, from motivation to inspiration, and from customer experience to customer emotion.
- Focus on building a culture that powers the right actions to create the right results you, your team and customers need for breakthrough success.
- Couple purpose to motivation so your team is inspired.
- Design your product and service delivery around positive emotions.
Read The Intention Imperative for a deep dive on what you need to know and do to be a successful leader today.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com. He also teaches professional speakers and leaders how to increase their messaging and public speaking effectiveness. Learn more here.