Lately I’ve worked with clients as they struggle to build their organizations. Usually the conversation contains something like
“I can’t do it all and I need help with people to care and perform as well as I do”
“I need to find advocates for our organization who can get our message out”
“I need people who can present our story to others in a passionate and convincing way”
At the core, what the conversation is about is…inspiring others.
It’s also about creating advocates, partners, ambassadors for you, your organization, etc. which can carry your message within your organization and to others “outside”.
In discussions with them, I’ve mentioned 3 things to keep in mind:
- You can’t do everything
- No one will do it you way
- You have to inspire, train, and appreciate others
Usually, the first one is easy to discuss. In fact, it’s the impetus. They already know they can’t do everything. Yet, what they don’t realize is that it’s not about “can’t” and really about “shouldn’t”. In other words, they should look to others for help:
- to develop and implement
- to communicate with others
- to improve upon the current situation
The shift to “should” involves helping them understand their role as leaders. Leaders must focus on their role to lead. Often, it’s not to focus on implementation. Rather, they inspire others. They set the vision. They set the tone.
The second and third items are related.
Yes, by definition, no on will do it your way. Early in my career, I was part of a Nortel/BNR program for new employees. We were trained to do it the ‘right way’–what to say, when, and how. I didn’t enjoy delivering the program (and nor did the majority of my colleagues). Why? Because it was not designed to be flexible to meet local needs. Variation and customization was frowned up (I was downgraded on an annual evaluation simply for reversing the order of topics).
But isn’t standardization good? Shouldn’t people follow guidelines? I often am asked this.
Well, yes. But also you need to allow for people to use their brains and not just their hands, as one of my earliest managers taught me.
The implications are this:
Select, train, appreciate, and monitor. All of these elements are important to success.
Recently, I worked with a client on a new Ambassador Program for their organization. This involves asking members to become advocates within their organization as well as within the community. This exciting program has already inspired more participation and dedication not just with the Ambassadors but also within the organization. In other words, people have become inspired to use their unique talents.
It’s the unique talent that is at the core of “no one will do it your way”. As well, because of the training and materials each Ambassador received, they are equipped and inspired.
What has been already seen with this client, is a renewal of participation at all levels in the organization.
It takes a strong leader to create the environment. They must become comfortable (and skilled) with letting-go, inspiring others, and focusing on their role as leaders.