Turn Your Vision into a Cause.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Friday, 1st October 2010
Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them; if you aren't a visionary - hire one - more importantly, turn your Vision into a Cause.

I wonder how many of you remember the movie Rebel Without a Cause. This is a 1955 film directed by Nicholas Ray that tells the story of a rebellious teenager played by James Dean. In this movie James Dean played the part of a rebel but he had no cause that could provide direction, guidance or a set of ethics to get him on the straight and narrow path; the path to success.

Paradoxically to Dean in this movie, every effective leader I have ever known has had a vision. But, having a vision alone does not make you an effective leader. In fact there are hundreds of "Unsuccessful" companies and "Ineffective" leaders that have Vision Statements posted on their websites, in their brochures and even posted in their lobbies - A Vision without a Cause?

You see, almost anyone can have a vision but if you have a "vision without a cause" you are just a dreamer. I have known plenty of dreamers in my lifetime whose ship never has and never will come in. One thing I know for sure --- If your ship misses the harbor --- it's generally NOT the harbor's fault.

Keep Things Simple

Try to keep initiatives simplistic, realistic and achievable. Phase the initiatives so that early successes will come and be recognized. Complexity has no place. If the employees don't understand, no amount of effort will allow them to reach the desired results. Learn to listen to the employees. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than a supervisor who will not listen to a solution to a problem that is so obvious the supervisor should have acted long ago. Structuring the right environment is not that difficult if you make your employees a priority.

Employees Need Recognition

Every employee wants to feel that they have a voice and can be heard. They want to know that management knows they exist and what their contribution is. They want the satisfaction of doing a good job. They want to prove their talent to achieve the desired results. If they are challenged they will become self-motivated.

Employees Need Association with Others

People enjoy other people. They derive satisfaction from interaction with their peers. Recognition is icing on the cake. Employees find the social aspect of the work place rewarding if the environment is positive and conducive to success. Make coming to work enjoyable for your employees. Create ways to challenge as well as entertain the employees. Provide the opportunity for social interaction. There are a number of ways to do this from a once a week company sponsored lunch to monthly breakfast sessions with the president to talk about current issues and new events.

The "FUN" Relationship to Success

Having fun is the very first recommendation I give to anyone that asks me how to create success within their organization. I have always said that if you don't enjoy doing what you are doing, if you don't have fun doing it, then you should do something else because you simply can't excel at anything unless you really enjoy doing it. That means having fun. You can walk into almost any company and observe the employees for a short period of time and I guarantee you that the employees that seem to be having fun, those that display a real fondness for what they are doing are the ones whose performance will exceed expectations.

Those that have the frowns, those that are grumpy and those that are apathetic to what they are doing will not perform up to expectations. People that are too serious or take themselves too seriously rarely come up with new ideas. It is already proven by research that humor aids the healing process. I suggest to you that having fun and enjoying what you do is a key component to maximizing your success. I believe creativity and innovation are often spurred by having fun and doing what you enjoy doing. It's common sense. If you don't enjoy what you are doing why would you spend the time or energy to come up with new ways to do it or new ideas? Remember, new ideas are often just the coming together of several old ideas. However, if you are not enjoying what you are doing you won't even be thinking about old ideas let alone the combination of several.

Realize that it is quite a challenge to maintain a fun culture during a restructuring, implementation of a contingency plan or a Turn-A-Round. However, it can be done, but it requires a demonstration of respect and trust for the employee as the platform for structuring this type of environment.

Employees Seek Self-Esteem

Recognition and praise raises self-esteem. Positive feedback and ample communication allow employees gratification and a newfound confidence in the organization. To be successful, individuals must not only believe in their leaders but they must believe in themselves. Effective leaders promote a self confidence on the part of their employees that builds self esteem; the grass root for maximizing potential.

Employees Need to Feel a Sense of Power - Autonomy

Most employees derive satisfaction by having an influence over something or someone. A few leadership traits are inborn to some degree in every human being, some more than others. Allow the employees the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in some form or fashion.

Create work teams, committees and projects that motivate by presenting the opportunity to make decisions and be a part of the overall process of turning the company around. Empowerment is the key to autonomy. Allow the employees to take risks and demonstrate initiative. The rewards are far greater than the risk.

Give them some independence in choosing their work schedules or other factors that won't affect overall objectives. Be flexible.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.


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