It Takes More than Hype.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Friday, 13th April 2012
Some ineffective leaders believe that a new slogan, a new vision or mission statement or a new 'Flavor of the Month' initiative is all that is needed to instill excitement, a sense of urgency, dedication and the ability to release employee discretionary energy.

After all

"Excitement breeds Excitement --- Success breeds Success

I firmly believe that. Why wouldn't I --- I said it. However, I am not nave enough to simply believe that's all it takes. Just get your people excited with an internal marketing slogan or pitch and everything else will fall into place. Kind of like the "Law of Attraction". Just believe and visualize anything and it will happen. HOGWASH.

Yes, there is validity to the Law of Attraction but that validity only comes into play if "you take action".

Being a Cheerleader is not Enough

A cheerleader's primary responsibility is to keep the team focused and motivated. They in essence are the primary team builder starting at the top with the executive team. But creating an enthusiastic executive team isn't enough. The leader must instill the coaching and mentoring concept in the core belief system of his executive team to insure that these values are passed down throughout the organization.

Creating a slogan, simply relying or your cheer leading skills as a leader is just not enough. Although employee attitude is one of the most critical elements of success, it is far from being the only one. This is especially true if your entire culture needs rebuilding. This becomes a major transformation.

Transformational Leadership

Richard L. Daft raises the question, "What kind of people can lead an organization through major change?" Rebuilding your culture as an organization qualifies as major change and requires transformational leadership. Daft points out that this type of leader is characterized by the ability to bring about change through innovation and creativity. This type of leader motivates people to not only follow their lead but to believe in the vision of corporate transformation, the need for revitalization, to sign on for the new vision and to help institutionalize a new organizational process.

Almost every Human Resource expert will tell you that employees must enjoy their work to be effective doing it. Enjoying work is not limited to the task itself. What this really means is simply "enjoying work is exceptionally dependent upon the culture which the works resides in." In other words, the company must build a culture that the employees embrace; one that encourages self-development, empowerment, social interaction, accountability and recognition. This is the platform required to build the kind of culture and transformation that will create excitement, create success instilling a desire in employees to release their discretionary energy.

What is discretionary energy? Discretionary energy is the energy an employee uses when going above and beyond the call of duty to complete a task or get the job done. Every employee has discretionary energy. The amount of energy released and employed at work depends on their attitude, how well they enjoy being at work, how they are treated and how they feel about the company and how excited and energized they become. Discretionary energy can be the difference between doing what is expected and performing in an outstanding manner.

The Lead Wolf Leader Approach

Lead Wolf Leaders get results. They make things happen. They continually advance a clear agenda, get others to buy in and move the organization to accomplish specific objectives. They are explicit, consistent, concise and sincere. They generally have an abundance of charisma although some leaders gain success with a quieter influence. They instill a sense of confidence along with excitement.

Lead Wolf leaders take charge and are not afraid of responsibility or risk. Most people want to follow them. A good leader develops openness, honesty, clarity of purpose and a sincere caring for the people they lead. They gain commitment and trust by demonstrating respect for the individual. They have a keen sense of understanding. Most Lead Wolf Leaders have established a pattern when it comes to creating the kind of culture that encourages excitement and breeds success.

This pattern includes the following:
  • They have an incessant curiosity about success and the future
  • They demonstrate a willingness to admit they don't have all the answers
  • They recognize and embrace the need for change
  • They understand that there is no purple pill to creating a sense of urgency, a culture of success and an atmosphere filled with excitement.
  • They make a commitment of time and resources to create change and manage it effectively
  • They develop a structure with supporting processes to stay focused on the desired goals and results
  • They take unprecedented steps through empowerment and recognition to maximize participation and involvement throughout the organization.
  • They practice the skill of listening while at the same time creating an acceptance of accountability by every employee.
Change can be challenging. More importantly however, change can be the driving force that creates both individual and team effectiveness. That driving force to be effective requires leadership at every level in the organization. Effective leaders understand this and indoctrinate change as a living breathing organism and process that needs to be embraced by everyone in a positive sense.

Effective leaders know that creating and managing change starts with the human side of the equation. Behavioral change becomes a necessity for almost every success initiative employed. This often means more effective coaching, training, skill development, empowerment and accountability.

And last but not least, change becomes a meaningful part of organizational structure and culture.

Rick Johnson, Executive Advisor, 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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