Seven Ways To Inspire Employees To Love Their Jobs

31 07 2013

Smart leaders take advantage of the fact that some things never change. Take employee engagement, for example. In my book, Fire Them Up, which I wrote in 2007, I cited several studies that showed the majority of workers as being “disengaged” and hating their jobs. Unfortunately the numbers haven’t changed. In Gallup’s most recent report on the state of the American workplace, we discover that only 30 percent of the U.S workforce is engaged in their work. In other words, they love their jobs. Seventy percent are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged,” meaning they hate their jobs or, at best, are unenthusiastic about their roles.

Most of these disengaged employees are looking for inspiration. They are searching for meaning and they want to have someone or something to believe in. They want to make a difference and they’re looking to you—their team leader—for inspiration. Six years ago I proposed a model for becoming an inspiring leader after interviewing more than 50 leaders running some of the world’s most admired brands. The 7 qualities they all share are worth revisiting today.

Inspiring leaders express a passionate commitment to serving their team. When I interviewed Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, I was struck by the fact that he used the word “passion” constantly. He wasn’t as passionate about ‘coffee’ as much as he was about treating his employees with dignity and respect. Schultz learned very early in his career that happy employees lead to happy customers. More recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. In a videoBranson expresses his passion for his team and his commitment to giving them all of the tools they need to elevate customer service.  In another video excerpt from a recent keynote speech to sporting goods retailers, I talk about the connection between leadership, passion, and the customer experience.

Inspiring leaders communicate a bold, specific, and consistent vision. Most employees—especially the Millennial generation—want more than a paycheck. They want to feel as though their work has meaning. They need to see how their jobs or projects connect to the big picture. In this column, I talked about my dinner with Neil Armstrong and what he taught me about the power of vision to move a brand (and society) forward.

Inspiring leaders sell the benefit behind their ideas. Few people care about the “how” until they know “why” they are doing what they are being asked to do. The lobbies of venture capital firms are littered with the dashed dreams of would-be entrepreneurs who had good ideas but failed to inspire investors because they could not clearly communicate the benefit behind their product or idea. Employees, too, want to understand the benefit. People are inspired when they know exactly how your initiative, product, or idea will improve their lives. Remember, effective communication is not about you. It’s about them.

Inspiring leaders tell powerful, memorable, and actionable stories. Inspiring communicators are storytellers. Incorporate stories in your conversations, emails, and presentations. I recently met with a top executive at one of the largest companies in the world. He was preparing for a major speech he delivered this week to an audience of world leaders. His speechwriter was in the room as well as his assistants and presentation design experts. After I listened to his first run-through, I said, “Where’s your voice?” He had a great message, compelling facts and figures, but no personal stories. Once he added his own stories the presentation came alive.

Inspiring leaders invite feedback. One of the astonishing success stories I’ve ever come across is Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut. Griffin transformed itself from a troubled organization in the 1980s to one of the best places to work in the country and a role model for hundreds of hospitals across America. Griffin CEO Patrick Charmel told me that he began to ask for honest feedback from employees, doctors, nurses, patients, and former patients. He listened and gave people what they asked for. Today Griffin is committed to transparency and open, honest communication between leadership and staff. Everything is shared—the good and bad news. Employees are involved in every major decision. Most important, senior leaders make it a point to solicit feedback regularly.

Inspiring leaders act as beacons of hope. Successful leaders are more optimistic than average. They act bravely and speak with courage and confidence about the future. They see the world differently. Where many see gloom, despair, tumult and turbulence, inspiring leaders see a bright, positive world full of hope and joy. They echo the sentiment in Matt Ridley’s book, The Rational Optimist, where Ridley argues that life on earth is getting better and doing so at an accelerating rate. In an earlier column, I detailed the five reasons why optimists make better leaders. In the article I tell the story of Intel co-founder Robert Noyce who started the company in one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. According to Noyce, “optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places?”

Inspiring leaders praise people and encourage them to be their best selves. Richard Branson once said, “When you lavish praise on people, they flourish; criticize and they shrivel up.” When I spent a day with Branson I noticed that he gave compliments constantly—to his staff, crew, and airport personnel. He walks the talk.

You might be a leader who shares each of these qualities. It doesn’t mean that every one of your employees will love you and their jobs. A high percentage of the 70 percent of employees who are “disengaged” might simply be in the wrong job and no amount of motivation will help. But read the last quality carefully—inspiring leaders encourage people to be their best selves. These leaders take a genuine interest in people as individuals. They talk to their employees about their hopes, dreams, and interests. They encourage employees to change jobs if they must or seek out positions within or outside the company that best suits their passion and skills.

I’m genuinely saddened to read the 2013 Gallup survey of the workplace. The statistics don’t seem to change. A majority of employees hate their jobs—year after year. I am encouraged, however, to discover more and more leaders who take their responsibility seriously and who are genuinely committed to inspiring their teams and their customers. We need more inspiring leaders if we hope to raise the level of employee engagement in corporate America.

Why shouldn’t it start with you?

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“Harry Potter and the Magic of Spiritual Living”

20 07 2013

Very inspirational:

Changing the World

submitted by Linda Carol Adrienne, PhD, CHt on July 14, 2013

If we lived in Harry Potter’s world we would automatically accept magic. Magic that works with a wand, a spell and a flick of the wrist. Harry and his friends and family all accept their magic, they have an awareness of it. It is awakened in them when they are little and it is tremendously important for them to learn how to use it properly so that they do no harm. Then there are those who cannot use magic, the Muggles. They don’t even see the magic, the mystery or the possibilities of magic that surround them.

Well, we don’t live in Harry’s world, we live here. Where the magic works a little differently… a working definition for magic in our world could be “a special power, influence, or skill employed in order to have a desired good effect”…

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7 Leadership Lessons by Nelson Mandela

18 07 2013

by  | on July 17, 2013

We’re all aware that Nelson Mandela is critically ill in hospital and close to his passing. It seems a shame we always wait until the inspirational icons are no longer with us, before we start to contemplate and celebrate their legend. In a world where people frequently express their disillusionment with politicians and their inability to make a difference, he’s a shining star. For me, there are seven profound lessons that CEOs and leaders can learn from the great Nelson “Madiba” Mandela:

(1) Master your meaning and your emotions

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul,” Mandela still likes to quote from W. E. Henley’s Victorian poem ‘Invictus’. Prepared to go to prison for his political beliefs, Mandela stood tall. When his African National Congress (ANC) had been banned by the apartheid South African government in 1960, Mandela had advocated that the party abandon its policy of non-violence, leading to a sentence of life imprisonment. He said, “I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for.”

Reflecting on the moment when he entered Robben Island prison, off the coast of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela said, “how you’re treated in prison depends on your demeanor.” Threatened with violence by an Afrikaans prison guard, he told him, “You dare touch me, I will take you to the highest court in the land. And by the time I finish with you, you will be as poor as a church mouse.”

Keeping his emotions in check, relations with his captors improved as he sought to “communicate with them in a message that says I recognize your humanity”. His official biographer Anthony Sampson argues that, during his 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela was able to develop “a philosopher’s detachment,” as well as, “the subtler art of politics: how to relate to all kinds of people, how to persuade and cajole, how to turn his warders into his dependents, and how eventually to become master in his own prison.”

CEOs operate in a much more time-compressed environment, yet should work towards attaining a similar state of Zen-like calm and detachment. In this place, they will not only benefit from better health and wellbeing, but keep sight of the bigger picture and avoid getting buffeted by day-to-day issues.

(2) Treat the losers with dignity and turn them into partners

In 1989, apartheid South Africa suffered from racial violence and a faltering economy at home, while it was shunned abroad. The continuing struggle between the black and white populations seemed like a recipe for mutual destruction, like Israel and Palestine. However, the arrival of new president F.W. de Klerk finally presentedNelson Mandela with a more pragmatic political opponent, who was minded to free him from prison. For years, Nelson Mandela had stood for freedom from oppression. How to approach his captor and would-be liberator? Mandela’s lawyer George Bizos explained the thinking: “Let’s help him. Let’s not keep him in his corner by calling him an oppressor. Even the term can become such a stigma.” Mandela helped de Klerk to, “move from that concept called oppressor to that of a partner”.

Nelson Mandela understood that in a negotiation, both sides have to gain. There must be no winners and no losers: the South African people as a whole must win. Learning the lessons from Germany at end of the First World War, he believed, “You mustn’t compromise your principles, but you mustn’t humiliate the opposition. No one is more dangerous than one who is humiliated.”

The process through which Mandela managed to free himself, end apartheid and create a new South African constitution was testament to his tremendous generosity of spirit. George Bizos added that Mandela believed that, “we don’t have to be victims of our past, that we can let go of our bitterness, and that all of us can achieve greatness… he did it not through beating anybody down; most people wouldn’t have the forgiveness to do that sort of thing.”

(3) Shift perspectives through symbolism and shared experiences

Through his example and presence, Mandela has always led from the front. Like Gandhi or Churchill, he learned early how to build up and understand his own image. His trademark colorful shirts mirror his exuberance and optimism while reflecting his tribal roots. The 1995 Rugby World Cup provided an even bigger stage for Mandela to fuse his own image with that of the new nation that he was trying to build.

How do you get 42 million people to tolerate one another? Rugby was traditionally a white man’s game in South Africa, and the black majority population would routinely support the teams of opposing nations. However, Mandela seized upon the PR opportunity of South Africa hosting the 1995 tournament to rebrand the Springbok team, whose kit took on the colors of the new national flag. One team, one country, all would walk tall under the new flag. Mandela even demanded that the team learn the words of the new national anthem, ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’, asking God to bless Africa for all of us. Although the firm underdogs, the national team was able to beat the New Zealand All Blacks in the final – Mandela’s single act of wearing the Springbok jersey was said to bring on side 99% of the white and 99% of the black South African audience, in a single stroke.

Team captain François Pienaar helpfully argued that this campaign was “respecting the people that we represented and what we could give back.” After the game, the team took a boat trip to the Robben Island prison, further adding to the national symbolism. “The world needs moments of great joy… the world needs to see that there are moments that we can live together,” de Plessis said, adding: “Sport is the great leveler. [Our victory was inspired by] the father of this nation, the one who inspired to come together when we never ever believed that we could do it. That’s called leadership.”

The other big shared experience designed to bring together opposing factions was the creation of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. This was about creating a public forum where people could air confront their former aggressors, make their voice heard and get to the truth. Mandela wanted to avoid the acrimony of the Nuremburg trials, which he felt had turned into a vengeful witch-hunt. Instead, this was “soft vengeance… the triumph of a moral vision of the moral world.”

CEOs too can learn to acknowledge the past and draw a line under it. Then, through shared experiences, they must forge a powerful new purpose that people can connect to and believe in.

(4) Embody the spirit of Ubuntu

In 2007, in partnership with entrepreneur Richard Branson and singer Peter Gabriel, Mandela founded ‘The Elders’. Composed of former heads of state, revolutionaries, peacemakers and chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders work as a small, dedicated group of individuals, using their collective experience and influence to help tackle some of the most pressing problems facing the world today.

In the launch address, Nelson Mandela talked about bringing “the spirit of Ubuntu: that profound African sense that we are human only through the humanity of other human beings.” In a thread that defines his whole life, he said, “I believe that in the end that it is kindness and accommodation that are the catalysts for real change.”

With such high ideals, Nelson Mandela was alert to the potential dangers of his own personality cult. He learned to talk less about “I” and more about “we,” and was determined “to be looked at as an ordinary human being”. Mandela himself has repeatedly said that “I’m no angel,” and his presidential predecessor F.W. de Klerk concurs: “He was by no means the avuncular, saint-like figure depicted today. As an opponent he could be brutal and quite unfair.” However, while people may have disagreed with the policies Mandela pursued, they don’t question his integrity. His biographer believes that “it was his essential integrity more than his superhuman myth which gave his story its appeal across the world.”

CEOs are rarely, if ever, depicted as angels, but people have to trust them. Even if they’re not liked, people will rally behind them if they know what they stand for and what they believe in.

(5) Everybody feels bigger in your presence

Time and again people comment on Mandela’s strong personality, saying that he has a aura about him. Fêted by crowds around the world, Nelson Mandela mixed politics and showbiz; criticized for prioritizing social engagements with the Spice Girls or Michael Jackson over a visiting head of state.

The adoration of crowds did not faze him: “I am not very nervous of love, for love is very inspiring.” However, Nelson Mandela is also a man of intrinsic humility, with the ability to laugh at himself. “I’m only here to shine her shoes,” he said when meeting Whitney Houston. At a White House reception for religious leaders, Bill Clinton paid an emotional tribute to his guest: “Every time Nelson Mandela walks into a room we all feel a little bigger, we all want to stand up, we all want to cheer, because we’d like to be him on our best day.”

Leaders and CEOs who have this x-factor succeed. Our gut feels their absence when they are replaced by a less charismatic successor, even if we delude ourselves that the new guy is a welcome sobering contrast. British prime minister Gordon Brown was no match for the towering presence of Tony Blair; and even if seen to be doing many of the right things at Apple, Tim Cook lacks the swagger of innovator-supreme Steve Jobs.

(6) Build a sustainable fellowship around your cause

It is interesting to speculate how Nelson Mandela would have fared in the age of social media. Confined to his prison cell, much of the technological era passed him by. However, he was never short of followers, and he understood that mass engagement began with a solid core base. Permitted to converse with other prisoners at Robben Island only when laboring at its mine, his inner core was variously termed the ‘brotherhood’, ‘kitchen cabinet’ and ‘university’. The bedrock of his trusted inner sanctum provided him with the foundation from which to keep on being inspiring. Those who were admitted to Mandela’s close fellowship during those years also flourished: close friend Ahmed Kathrada went on to hold senior government positions, while Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma graduated to lead the party. Political prisoners admitted that they actually looked forward in a sense to going to prison, as they would get to meet the true leaders of the country.

Often seeming to be above race, once in power Mandela broadened his fellowship to include white and Indian colleagues, whom he trusted them completely. He made former president F.W. de Klerk his deputy, and his “rainbow cabinet” was one of the few genuinely multiracial governments in the world. Looking to the corporate world, Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has also been effective at drawing to his cause a group of highly loyal co-founders. CEOs should develop a true fellowship structure that devolves responsibility and brings on promising talent.

7) Bottle the dream for future generations

After 27 years in captivity, it is easy to overlook the fact that Nelson Mandela was only actually president of South Africa for five years. He said that he was one of the generation “for whom the achievement of democracy was the defining challenge”. Aged 80 by the time he stepped down in 1999, Mandela argued that, “when a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace… We take leave so that the competent generation of lawyers, computer experts, economists, financiers, doctors, industrialists, engineers and above all ordinary workers and peasants can take the ANC into the new millennium.”

Many great leaders are true ‘one-offs’ and it is too simplistic to suggest that they should seek to bottle their essence to be preserved in aspic. Rather, the big challenge for them is to groom the next generation and ‘blend the essence’ so that it’s fit for their current and future organization. His chosen successor and fellowship member, Thabo Mbeki, was effectively running the country for some of the years while Mandela was still president, with Mandela taking on an increasingly ceremonial role.

The verdict so far on his successors? The next generation of ANC leaders has not been seen to deliver universally good governance: the country continues to be blighted by crime, and the OECD reports that more than 50% of the population is living in poverty. However, South Africa is still is a young country, one that Mandela stamped with the concept of racial tolerance and cooperation as firmly as his predecessors had stamped it with intolerance and segregation.

What we’ve experienced from Mandela’s life is potentially just the start, and his legend is going to be bigger still. In the corporate world that’s my life’s work, we desperately need a new generation of companies that are truly global, courageous and entrepreneurial, and institutions that people care for. Their future leaders would do well to adopt the Mandela mindset and his seven profound lessons.

Having discharged his duty to his people and his country, Mandela can truly rest in peace. He showed us how one person with humility, a dream and a connecting cause could magnify himself and inspire us all. He should take great pride in the legacy that he leaves behind, as it continues to ripple across the world and through future generations.

Nelson Mandela: a true legend.

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Irrational Emotions = Irrational Actions

16 07 2013

This week has been an emotional roller coaster when it comes to the Trayvon Martin case. It brings me back to the concern I have always had about gun ownership.

The gun itself is just a tool, the danger is when this tool is in the hands of an irrational human being.

I am personally a Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for my community and have been for years. We actually had the City Neighborhood Watch Police Officer come into a meeting and talk with our team. The officer expressed over and over again NEVER confront someone, anyone,  under any conditions – ever. If you see anything suspicious, simply stay in your car, in your yard, in your home and call the police. Do not interact with the person. If anything, set off your car alarm to drive the person away and to bring more attention to the area. Confrontation is addressing someone, anyone, face to face. The officer always expressed the most important action is to avoid any kind of confrontation, because we can not control the other person’s actions, we can only control our own.

This whole issue uncovers a serious lack of compassion for other human beings and living things. I personally do not feel I need a gun.  Carpenters carry hammers, photographers carry cameras, mechanics carry wrenches; I think you get my point.

love hate
If we are trying to be more compassionate and be instruments of peace, we don’t need these tools of violence.

It is written somewhere pretty important, “thou shalt not kill”… That is the bottom line.

I don’t have a problem with gun owners, just those people who have a shoot-to-kill attitude. Where is the humanity and compassion in killing? How on earth did we get to this point?!  There is nothing inspiring about killing another person.

No matter how I try to wrap my mind around this case, I still can’t fathom the idea that it is acceptable to kill someone even in self defense under any circumstance. In the absolute worst situation would be shoot-to-injure so you can escape, or better yet, don’t put yourself in the situation in the first place. Do not confront. Leave the police work to the police and stop trying to be a hero.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The second amendment was not intended to protect these irrational behaviors. It was intended to defend our freedom for use as a “well regulated militia”.  The last time I checked a neighborhood watch captain was not part of a militia of any kind…  We continue to abuse our freedoms and we continue to dishonor those who actually wrote the amendment.

Mr. Martin was not breaking any law or taking anyone’s freedom, nor was he impeding the security of a free state by any means.

Because we have allowed irrational emotions to cloud our judgement, we are not seeing the human side of this issue. We should not be killing.

We have become so accepting of violence, so self serving and so selfish that we have forgotten how to live the Golden Rule. It breaks my heart! We are living in a time when it is okay for people to kill each other, but to see a couple showing affection in public or seeing something as natural as nudity is frowned on.

We have managed to get our morals and ethics completely backwards. We must wake up and stop hating each other. Violence must become unacceptable in our society – violence can not solve violence. Only it’s opposite will ever bring an end to this hatred that has poisoned our society.

The answer is and has always been compassion.  Being compassionate in everything we do. Stay out of potentially violent situations and avoid unnecessary confrontations.

The answer is within us. We can’t place the blame on others. We have allowed ourselves to embrace this hate. The only thing that can end hate is love – end of debate.   Hate is at the same end of the spectrum as fear.  It requires feelings of love and compassion to overcome it and to negate it.

We have to stop getting wrapped up in the details of playing the race card or the right to bear arms idea.  Both are ideas taken out of context that we use to feel victimized, that we use to justify more hate and violence.   It solves nothing.   The answer is not with the other person either.  The answer is in the mirror.  WE have to stop the hate and start to love unconditionally.

It is time to evolve and it is past time to mature and grow up.

LOVE is the ONLY answer.

Simple Life-changing Principles!

15 07 2013

If we simply learn to live by these simple commonsense principles in our everyday lives we will start to see the world around us change in very positive and inspiring way. All we have to do is simply be the example of these principles. It really is that easy!

How Full Is Your Love Tank?

5 07 2013

How full is YOUR love tank?

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Full and Half Tank

Knowledge Tank vs Love Tank

It is said that “Knowledge puffs up but love edifies” (1 Cor 8:1)

It’s so easy to be puffed up and prideful. The more knowledge we have, the easier the tendency to be arrogant about it.

Have you seen the colleague at work bragging about how good they are after they’ve worked there for a couple of years thinking that they are indispensable? Have you seen that Christian who loves to display their wide scope of Bible knowledge to the newcomer at church? Have you been in a situation where you see mutual leaders trying to size one another up, gauging how much experience or exposure they’ve had in their field? Knowledge indeed puffs up. Love beats it all.

I love reading, love knowledge and I love wisdom. But I realize that I can have all the knowledge in the world and it doesn’t…

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Feel the Fear; Do It Anyway

5 07 2013

Great idea. We have to start with Courage!

Coach David Brown

A new perspective from Leslie Hamp … check out more HERE

It’s no secret that we’re part of a new economy where more and more of us launching businesses and creating employment opportunities that align with our deeply held desires.

Maybe, like my friend and her daughter, you have a real talent for baking cupcakes and want to express that in your own business.
Or, like recent participants in my Create the Life You Crave workshops, you have a real talent for photography, event planning, making wedding dresses or taking complex ideas and simplifying them for others — and want to express that in a freelance niche.
Perhaps, like one of my coaching clients, you have a deeply-held desire to share years of expertise through a global business like the Gates Foundation.

Is it too much to expect? Definitely not! The motivation to step into an entrepreneurial venture or encore…

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