By Dianne M. Durkin
“The true essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.
You can’t just blow an uncertain trumpet.”
There are many myths about leadership that often prevent people from developing their leadership skills. They think if they were not born a leader with some magic leadership dust in their DNA, they cannot become one in the future.
While some people may be more natural leaders than others, some of the best leaders I have worked with are men and women who went beyond cultivating their own leadership skills and instead created a culture of leadership in their organizations. In this book, that is what I am going to bring to life for you —the reality that leadership does not belong to just one person. Leadership inspires others and becomes a contagious force. In this chapter, I explore vision, purpose, values, trust, and how they are all part of your role as a leader. In Chapter Two, there are some tools to help you evaluate yourself as a leader and accountability tools to keep you stay on track.
Great Leaders Realize that Leadership Is an Engine
It is an engine of innovation that runs on change, truth, communication, and vision. Great leaders make a difference in the lives of their people, their organizations, and the processes. In Chapter Three, I look at how to recruit and retain the best people. With the right people on board, there is nothing an organization cannot accomplish.
Great Leaders Encourage Their People to Bring Their Brains to Work
The fastest way to lower the IQ of an organization is to create a culture where people only follow the rules and never think outside their job descriptions. In Chapter Four, I explore how to fully engage and empower your employees, so they are always thinking and contributing their best.
Great Leaders Appreciate People and Let Them Know It
Again and again, I have seen this in my work with organizations. Money is not the motivator. What people want is for work to fulfill a basic emotional human need; they want to feel appreciated. In Chapter Five, I focus on appreciation and the importance of rewarding and recognizing people.
Great Leaders Create Loyalty
Leadership is not an ego game. It is purpose driven. I heard Frances Hesselbein, president and CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute and former CEO of Girl Scouts of America, speak at a conference where she addressed the Women President’s Organization. In her presentation, she told the audience that great leaders always put purpose first—never their own egos. In Chapter Six, I look at traits of outstanding leaders, two case studies that show Magnetic Leadership in motion, and how the health of the CEO can be a model for the health of an organization.
Great Leaders Look Ahead
In Chapter Seven, I look at the future of leadership. From the power of social media and technology to the importance of a global perspective, we see how Magnetic Leadership will be even more important in an age of increased transparency.
Great Leaders Take Action
In Chapter Eight, you can start your engines. We end with 10 steps you can implement immediately.
I know it sounds like a lot to tackle. It is really about going back to basics. In each chapter, I will talk about how you can get R.E.A.L. about becoming a Magnetic Leader:
Recruitment that gets the right people on the bus in the right spots and also shows you how to Retain them.
Engaging, Empowering, and Enriching employees and providing the right Environment for success. I will take you through the Big E and show you why this vowel rocks an organization in the most powerful of ways.
Appreciating people. What do people want most? It is not money. It is to be rewarded and recognized.
Leadership that leads to loyalty. Leadership is not about ego. It is the opposite. It is about purpose first. When leadership attracts the right people and engages, empowers, and appreciates them, the result is loyal, productive employees.
So, are you ready to get started? Let us kick it off with a powerful trio.
Vision. Purpose. Values: A Powerful Trio
So, where do you begin this leadership journey? Before you can rally the troops, you have to have a compelling vision. Now, do not sigh. I know what you are thinking. You have been through a million visioning exercises.
Vision gets a bad rap in many organizations because too many people have sat through a PowerPoint presentation where management presents a vision, and then it promptly disappears forever. And what happens? People feel cheated. They feel like an outsider, not the insider they want to be.
It does not have to be that way. When vision comes to life in an organization, it is powerful and it changes the status quo forever.
People want to see change that is meaningful. They want you to tell them the truth, communicate regularly, and they want a vision they can believe in and follow. For that to happen, you need vision and its two dance partners: purpose and values.
When you couple vision with purpose and values, everyone is dancing together. It is an unbeatable trio that can move mountains.
- Vision expresses where you are going. Vision is what brings your employees to the dance floor. It is a clear picture of the future that inspires people. I want to caution you to avoid the natural temptation to write one of those long, rambling paragraphs that includes all the buzzwords du jour. That is not a vision. It is a long paragraph no one will remember. Instead, state your future in a clear, concise statement that motivates and engages.
- Purpose is simple. Purpose answers two questions: What business are you in, and what difference are you making in this world?
- Clear values. What guides your behavior and the decisions you make on a daily basis? This is the “how” part of your vision. While you may not write it in the statement, it is how the statement comes alive because this is how you behave every day. You need to communicate these values, and then lead by example as you demonstrate these values in your decisions and actions.
Examples of Inspiring Vision Statements
Yes, anyone can write a run-of-the-mill vision statement. Do not do that. Remember that your vision needs to create a picture your organization can see and understand. So make sure your vision paints that kind of picture. The picture can, of course, connect to business goals and spreadsheets. That is for the meeting with the chief financial officer. To inspire and unite your organization, you want simplicity, clarity, and a spark that ignites the imagination—not a rambling paragraph.
Here are three that inspire me.
If you have a body, you are an Athlete.
This was an original vision statement of Nike, coined by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. The picture it paints is clear—everyone has the potential to be an athlete, and so everyone is a potential customer of Nike. This statement has a more emotive purpose because it goes beyond “we sell sneakers” to “we sell inspiration.” This is in the same spirit as Just Do It, their memorable and often-quoted tagline.
We bring humanity to the air.
This was a vision statement shared in a JetBlue letter to shareholders several years ago, and it still remains firmly entrenched in my mind. It is one of the best vision statements I have ever read. I love the purpose of this one because it reminds employees they are not just flying people from point A to point B. They are in the business of providing people with a good experience in the air. The statement is a challenge to change the way people view air travel. The picture of the future it conjures is one of happy, smiling passengers versus what many think of when boarding an airplane.
To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
This is from Starbucks, and it is on their Website as their mission. However, I see it as a great vision statement because it is not talking about how much coffee the company is going to sell. It talks about the picture that is painted when employees do their job right. Starbucks has known for a long time that the company is not selling coffee. It is selling an experience. It is a haven in the middle of a busy day. Starbucks wants to inspire and nurture us. Guess where this vision needs to resonate? With the people making your grande latte. That is a challenge we all can relate to. No matter the size of your business, you have to infuse that vision throughout your organization.
Excerpt from Chapter One, “Create a Culture for Results,” from “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.” by Dianne M. Durkin. To purchase the book on Amazon.com, visit http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Magnetic-Leadership-R-E-A-L/dp/1453751238/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359063012&sr=8-1&keywords=magnetic+leadership++durkin
Dianne M. Durkin is the president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer, and brand loyalty for corporations and smaller businesses. Her background includes finance, direct sales, international marketing, and training and development.
She is the author of two books: “TheLoyalty Factor: Building Employee, Customer and Brand Loyalty” and “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.” For more information, visit www.loyaltyfactor.com; http://www.linkedin.com/in/queenofloyalty; http://twitter.com/LoyaltyFactor; http://www.loyaltyandretention.com.