Leading With Why

I'm sure you can tell me what you do. You can probably describe, in excruciating detail, how to do it. Let me ask you a simple question. Why do you do what you do?

Sorry, to earn a paycheck isn't enough. Money is a result and many times a meaningless metric. It is a temporary manipulative tactic to get people to work on tasks. Once someone can get more money doing the same thing elsewhere … they are gone.

There is no emotion in money. Yes, not having money is a demotivator … but working for money is never enough to sustain the motivation to make a difference. Motivation is sustained through inspiration. Inspiration is based upon belief in yourself and a cause. A belief is emotional.

Leaders with Emotional Why

Leaders, of major successful companies and small teams, are able to inspire people to act because they express the emotional connection of belief in the cause. Great leaders are able to inspire people to act when they understand their why and can concisely describe their why so others can identify and believe in the same why. It's not working towards the same goals or objectives. It's having the same passion and belief in what the leader believes. It is what the leader expresses in words, writing, and actions. It's having the same emotional feeling of why that makes you want to follow a particular leader.

Think Google. Think Apple. People would take low pay, work long hours, stick to specific rules because they believe in what Google and apple believe. These people see their company leaders' "why" in everything they do. It's a community in which others flock to be part of … because they believe in what the leaders believe.

Business Users with Emotional Why

Think about the business users who seem to be able to move mountains towards their cause. These business users create a vision based upon a deep belief of the possibility and opportunity's positive outcome. Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they have to, but because they believe in the same cause. A community is formed within a company working on a great idea because, the business user has a clear vision (why) and an idea on what can be done to promote that clear vision.

Think about your past and that one project you LOVED to work on. It was a great team, with a great manager, with a great opportunity to develop something great. You knew why you were doing a project. You knew what had to be done to turn the vision into a reality. You know how to do your part to help promote the activity towards success.

Those leaders (and business users) unable to create that vision hire day laborers. These individuals show up to do a mediocre day's work. The followers are paid for just showing up. These followers are manipulated (usually with money) to do an average job. These individuals are viewed as a commodity and paid at an ever decreasing hourly wage. No loyalty is developed between the day-laborer and the leader. Once a better opportunity becomes available (for more pay or for a cause), the day-laborer jumps to the new opportunity. For the leaders, once they can find cheaper labor, the more expensive day-laborers are replaced.

Inspired followers, on the other hand, will work hard at doing their best and endure inconveniences. Why? Because the followers (aka the team) are motivated by the vision, the cause, and believe in the positive possible outcome of the project or the company initiative or vision. The team is working for the good of the whole, to be part of a community and to help the community succeed. Uninspired individuals work for themselves and will find ways to avoid work that doesn't inspire them.

Are you leading with emotion?

Accountability and responsibility are what and how you do things. The emotional reason, the passion for what you do is your 'WHY'. The 'Why' others can visualize and believe in as well. Then you have a team that will follow you through all the late nights and other inconveniences.

Change never begins from policy or by projects. Those are the results of what forces change (manipulative) if need be. Change begins with emotion. Change begins when you understand what emotionally drives you, your project, and your company.

This isn't easy. Many companies, teams and individuals lose touch with their why, their purpose. Unless you are in a position (such as an Enterprise or Business Architect) to be able to facilitate such a discussion, you need to work locally. Start with your specific project. Find the underlying motivation for the project and your impact. Find ways to talk to the business community about vision. Are they passionate about the job they are doing?

If not, maybe it's time to sit down with more individuals in the business community and understand the emotional reason for the project. Find out what the business community believes is a positive opportunity for the project. Ask them to describe the vision they see for the project's impact on the company.

What's in it for you?

It is so much easier to get up and come to work every day when you have a cause in which you believe. A cause where you see your impact of what and how you do your job achieves why you are doing it. Inspiration is contagious. It is an attractive trait which attracts people with the same cause. Soon, a community is formed. A community which hopefully includes technical people AND business people. The community gains momentum and achieves goals that are noticed by those in power.

It is actually your choice. You decide if you want to make the effort to find the vision, to be a follower, or to be part of a commodity. First, you have to realize that vision, cause, belief is based upon emotion. What and how are intellectual efforts. Without the connection to the emotion, work is meaningless. With the emotional connection, time becomes meaningless.

Time is meaningless if what and how you do something is based on what you believe.

Source by Pat Ferdinandi

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