Leading Your Team With Bold Communication, Part 3
We live in the “information age” where “content is king.” As I like to joke, leaders and marketers are all in a crazy race to see who can “fill up” the internet first. The volume of data on the internet is growing at a rate of over 40% each year. How do you, as a leader of a business, an organization, or even your family, make sure that your written and verbal messages cut through all the chatter and noise in today’s world and not only be heard but have an impact as well?
We started digging into this topic in Issue 88 of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report when we began discussing how to Lead With SPICE – strategies for bold communication that will change your team. In that issue, we looked at the “S” of SPICE – being Strategic in all that you do, say, or write – making sure that everything has a purpose and that that purpose builds toward your organization’s mission and goals. We discussed having a purpose that changes the world to be a better place.
In Issue 90, We looked at how to make our messages be Profound – the “P” of SPICE. We talked about ways to ensure that our messages are carefully thought through in order to have the maximum impact on their recipients. Below are the other parts of SPICE, and in this issue we’re looking at the “I” – the importance of being Inspirational in our communications.
- Crystal Clear
Let’s get started!
Definition: To wake people up and influence them
If we’re going to say and do things that are Strategic and Profound, do we not want them to also move people to action – to inspire them?
I am going to give you a bit of homework now. When you can, I want you to watch a video. It’s just 18 minutes long and it’s by Simon Sinek – one of the most insightful people of our time when it comes to human behavior. The video is titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and you can find it here.
I am not going to spoil the entire video but, in it, Sinek discusses how successful leaders talk about the “Why” of what they do, or what their organization does. In stark contrast to talking about the Why, most folks talk about the “What” of what they do. For example, those of you in the home improvement industry might say, “We sell and install residential metal roofing. Want to buy one?” and the listener says “Meh” … they are not inspired by what you just said. You might push a little harder and include the “How” of what you do by saying “We will come out to your house and measure things up and eventually send some guys over in a truck to climb on your roof and start banging around to install a metal roof. Want to buy one?” And to that, they still say “meh” … you haven’t inspired them to anything! But, what if you lead with the “Why” and say “In everything we do, we believe that your home is your most important possession, and we will go to all ends to make it better. We can make your home more valuable, more beautiful, more energy efficient, and cheaper to maintain. We happen to do that by installing beautiful metal roofs. Want to buy one?” Will your listener say “meh” after hearing that? I doubt it! Because you have INSPIRED them to the idea that you offer them more than just a roof. You have said something instead that wakes them up to a new reality (something Profound) and influences them to want to know more.
Here’s a story where the right inspiration had a huge international impact. After World War II ended, a new conflict began. The Cold War. This occurred between the world’s two super powers – the democratic, capitalist United States and the communist Russia. Beginning in the 1950s, there was a clear contest going on between the two countries and that was called the Space Race. The goal at the time was to be the leader in space exploration. Near the end of 1957, Russia dealt a heavy blow to the United States by putting the Sputnik satellite into orbit. This was bad news for the USA as it created a lot of fear. If Russia could launch a satellite, maybe they could also put nuclear warheads on that satellite!
Sputnik was just the first in a long series of Space Race wins by the Russians. In April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in orbit. The US was trying hard to catch up but the Russians kept ahead of them. Russia had the first two-man space flight, and the first three-man flight. They put the first woman into space and they had the first space walk. And, for the US, all of this continued to propel thoughts of nuclear warheads in space. The US was clearly losing the Space Race. But, think about it, there was no “end goal” to the space race. There was no way to ever say who had “won,” and it was looking increasingly like the US would continue to chase Russia forever. Something changed that, though, and changed it to the degree that none of us now even remembers all those “firsts” that Russia had while all we could do was chase them.
What changed that, or rather WHO changed that, was President Jack Kennedy. He inspired our country to a new goal. No longer was the goal simply one of trying to get ahead and pose a greater military threat than Russia. In May of 1961, President Kennedy said this: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth.” (I’ve always liked how he included that last part about the safe return to earth – not terribly comforting but that was a reality of space exploration.)
Finally, there was in place the inspiration and the definition for our country to win the Space Race, and JFK called it and declared how we’d accomplish it. And, you know how that played out. In July of 1969, six months before the end of the decade, and nearly six years after the tragic death of JFK, we had our men on the moon with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Apollo 11. We’d beat the Russians to the moon.
But, do you know the rest of the story? At the same time that the Apollo 11 astronauts were on the moon, the Russians were attempting to land an unmanned module on the moon, very close to our astronauts. But, just hours before Armstrong and Aldrin left the moon, the Russian module crashed on the surface of the moon and was destroyed. The Russians never again tried to land on the moon. President Kennedy had inspired our country. We had won the Space Race. And Kennedy’s inspiration had a profound and lasting international impact.
Successful leaders inspire their organizations to great achievements … achievements that better mankind. Check out the Simon Sinek video I mentioned … and give it some thought … how do your words inspire your organization? How do they get to the heart of impacting the behavior of those in your organization? Some leaders will try to inspire through force or bullying but the impact of that is always short lived because it affects only the minds of those being led. What you want to do instead is change their hearts.
So, what are you doing to Inspire your organization or family to greater things?
Be sure to watch for a future Executive Report issue when we tackle the letter “C” of SPICE. With this letter, we will discuss how to make sure that our verbal and written messages are Crystal Clear so that the recipients don’t just “hear” but they also “understand”. Too often, we end conversations without everyone being on the same page. To be an effective communicator, that must stop!
Please feel free to email me with stories of your leadership experiences – we can learn and grow together! Meanwhile, I wish you and yours a most joyous Christmas and Holiday Season as well as all best in the bright new year.