You’re sitting in stadium seats inside an auditorium. You can feel the anticipation prickle up your back. Your notebook and pen are poised ready for action. Lights are showcasing the stage, just waiting for the speakers. You’ve heard them before and tell everyone you know that they have to hear this group’s message. In your mind, they are the rock stars of the business realm.
You may not be a business rock star yet, but you should learn to inspire the team that supports you. Leading a team entails getting them equally as passionate for your vision.
A team of two is just as important as a team of 2,000.
There is only one reason that I stayed working at a particular startup company – the leadership. Specifically the CEO and owner; he is the inspirational sort. He is motivating and has a commanding presence, which combine together into a formidable speaker. And he has a solid character and leads by example.
I’ve sat in different kinds of meetings with him. The sales meeting where he would demand excellence and say he would ‘trim the fat’ if they didn’t shape up because they weren’t selling enough. The operations meeting where he would praise everyone and remind the staff they were important too and made the company run smoothly. And the semi-annual all hands meetings where he would get us pumped for the future and talk about the direction of the company. That was my favorite type of meeting – all the department heads would talk, but HE was why we were there. It was his dream in the beginning, and it became our dream as well. He explained how the company started, how it had struggled, how it had grown, and where we were going. He wasn’t afraid to get specific with numbers and he wasn’t afraid to tell us when something didn’t work. And if it didn’t work, he took accountability for it. He would eloquently say, “The fish stinks from the head down.” Not a pretty image but we got the point.
Constant change is essential in order to grow a business. It might be a small tweaking of operational processes or it might be tackling a whole new revenue stream in addition to your existing one. But the CEO always told us why – why it worked and why it didn’t. And how this change would propel us into a better future. He addressed three areas in his speeches: the history of the company, how business had changed in the last year, and our future. Then the advertising began – the new logo and the new marketing posters for the office.
We all knew that he was selling to us; we knew that he was giving us some fluff and not total reality. But you know what? We didn’t really care. We were pumped and eager to drink the Kool-Aid.
His dream became our dream.
One of the greatest ways to continuously inspire your team is to have a catchy motto or tagline. Something succinct they will remember and relates to them – a mini mission statement for the company. They will repeat it and reignite the passion for your vision. How motivated and inspired must the employees of the following companies feel?
- Apple: “Think different.”
- The New York Times: “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”
- The U.S. Marine Corp: “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”
If you have a vision, share it with your team. Make your passion contagious. They want to believe in you, so inspire them.