The Zoom screen was in front of her. Each member of the team sat there with expectant faces. No-one could have foreseen how the Coronavirus would impact business. But it had. Amanda knew, as boss, it was her job to now lead this team into the next chapter. The team had been through thick and thin, through recession, industry rule changes and always come out ok. But, as she stared at the screen, she could feel the sense of panic rise. How could she inspire them on the next stage of the journey when she was struggling herself?
As a leader, the ability to inspire others is crucial. Seth Godin says the role of a leader is to ‘paint a picture of the future, go there and people will follow’. His quote may sound simplistic, but the principle is true. The role of leader is about having the ability to paint a picture of hope and direction that others want to be a part of and then regularly reminding people of the destination as you journey there. So how do you generate that ability? If you are going to inspire others, to breathe new life, new thinking into them, then you need to breathe in, inspire, yourself. So how do you do that? Over the next 5 weeks I will outline CRISP to you:
C - Clarity of Purpose
R – Rest & Reflection
I – Input
S - Surround yourself
P – Practise what energises you
Clarity of Purpose – CRO
A podcast I listened to recently outlined that the title CEO should perhaps be renamed CRO – Chief Reminding Officer, because the role of a CEO was to constantly remind people of the vision and purpose of the organisation. As leaders, if we are to be Chief Reminding Officers, we need to start by regularly reminding ourselves of our vision. Why? Because it brings us clarity so we can then bring others clarity and it encourages and energises us to keep going when things are challenging because we are reminded of our purpose, our ‘why’ that makes the ‘what’ more engaging. In simple terms if you know why you are doing something it engages you passionately. For example, fundraising takes on a deeper meaning and passion when you are doing it because you or a close friend or relative has been affected by the cause you are raising it for.
Find your Ikagai
The Japanese have a word,’ Ikigai’. Ikigai comes from ‘Ik’i, meaning life, and ‘gai’ meaning value. Ikigai is about knowing yourself, what you are passionate about and gives you direction. It is about finding it in everyday moments as well as a long term purpose and about being actively involved in it. Finding our purpose in life brings fulfilment. Finding the purpose for an organisation brings engagement in yourself and others.
So, how do you find the purpose for an organisation? You may well have a ‘what’ but the key is finding the why. For example, Everyday Leader has several ‘whats’. We run training, we have one to one coaching, we have podcasts, books and online material. But our purpose, our ‘why’, is to ‘Inspire and equip everyday people to lead’.
To find your ‘why’
State your what – what you do
Ask, why do I do it?
When you have answered that, ask, ‘but why?’
Keep asking yourself why until you get to being able to explain it in just a few words.
If you are going to be a chief reminding officer, keep revisiting the vision you have. Read around it, read or hear life stories of those who have followed a similar purpose, discuss it with colleagues and friends. Maybe book yourself some coaching sessions to really help you clarify it so that you can explain to anyone you meet in the organisation what values and behaviour stem from this purpose. To inspire others with the vision and purpose of your organisation, you need to inspire yourself. You need to drench yourself in it so that anyone who comes in contact with you is then drenched too.
Amanda clicked, ‘unmute’ on her Zoom screen. She took a deep breath and exhaled. “You know what we stand for in this company. Each and every day, without fail I have told you. Today, is the day we get chance to put that purpose to the test. Coronaworld is a new and different world and I know the uncertainty can perhaps scare some of you. But amidst this uncertainty, where the market has frozen and may well change, one thing remains the same . . our purpose. Our what may change, but our why remains the same. So, come on. Let’s wrestle with this conundrum and let’s re-imagine and re-purpose some ‘whats’ here.” As they broke into online breakout rooms, Amanda could sense the energy on screen. That coaching session on vision and purpose had been money well spent.