change starts with a compelling leadership vision for change. According to leadership expert John Kotter, a lack of leadership vision is one
of the most common reasons why transformational change efforts fail.
vision isn’t just for large, CEO led, company-wide transformational changes.
Leaders at all levels need to inspire people to change in order to overcome
significant challenges and achieve important goals.
is always relative and defined by those most impacted by the change. While an
office reconfiguration at a branch office may seem insignificant and trivial to
a CEO and his executive team, it’s probably considered transformational to the
employees that work in that office. It’s up to the branch office manager to
have a vision for that office reconfiguration, or the move is going to be met
with skepticism and resistance. The change is going to take longer than it
needs to, and may not even achieve the desired results.
Here are 7
important elements for any leadership vision for change: 1. It should be positive. A vision should focus more on how the
future will be better, and why. It should paint a picture of a better place to
2. It should be inspirational.“We’re
all going to show up for work on time for the next 90 days” isn’t really
going to inspire the troops to be all that they can be. Decisions are emotional, not logical. People don’t make decisions by facts
– they are swayed by their emotions. They then use facts to justify their
emotional decision. A vision needs to appeal to the emotions of those involved
in order to be inspirational, then supported with logic.
3. It should be bold. What’s the most inspirational movie
that you’ve ever seen? In most cases, you’ll probably think of movies that
involved overcoming seemingly impossible odds. Don’t just say “We’re going to
make a 10%” improvement” – go for 50%, or 90%! The best visions are BHAGs – big, hairy, audacious goals. Is there risk
involved? A Chance you could fail? Sure, there always is with bold visions.
Here’s a good way to look at it: There are 32 NFL football teams. Each year, every one of those teams set a goal to
win the Super Bowl. Only one of them can
win – the others will all lose. However, that doesn’t mean a team should set a
vision for “making the playoffs and losing in the first round”.If you don’t achieve it, you’ve most likely
made positive steps forward, learned a lot, and had a blast trying.
4. It should be inclusive. Involving other will not only create
ownership and buy-in for the vision, it will most likely result in a better
vision. There are a lot of ways to involve others in your vision. You can ask
people upfront for their input, include them in the creation of the
vision, or involve
them in the implementation planning.
5. It should be measurable and
attainable. While a
great leadership vision may not always have a specific number attached it, it
should at least be directional enough so that people will know when you’ve
achieved it. Again, some may disagree, but I believe a vision should have a destination.
6. It should connect to the greater
revenue by 25%” may be important to the CEO and the Board, but it’s not going
to inspire too many employees or other stakeholders. Nowadays especially,
today’s employees want to feel like they are making a difference, and a
contribution to making the world a better place. They crave a sense of purpose – that’s what inspires us to
change and give it our all.
7. It needs to be communicated - often. Many leaders believe they have a
vision, but when employees are asked, they don’t have a clue what it might be.
Visions should not be well guarded secrets! Leaders need to get out and talk to
their employees about the vision. Communicating a vision is not an event – it’s
an ongoing process, where the vision is constantly and consistently
communicated until every single employee has internalized it.
leadership vision for change isn’t easy – it’s hard work! But then again,
there’s a lot of hard work in creating a lousy vision too, so you might as well
do it in a way that inspires people to change and achieve extraordinary
results. After all, that’s what leadership is all about.
When one employee is not pulling their weight, it can have a devastating impact on productivity, customer service, or sales. Today’s lean organizations can no longer tolerate anything less than 100% effort from all of their employees.
However, the most negative impact a “slacker” employee can have isn’t necessary organizational results – it’s the impact on that employee’s coworkers that have to work extra hard to cover for their coworker. When a manager doesn’t see this – or, chooses not to address it - morale suffers, and ultimately, good employees will either lower their own standards or quit.
Read my latest post over at About.com Management and Leadership to find how to deal with the “lazy” employee. You might be surprised at some of the possible causes and solutions.
was writing my book on Pope Francis, I asked over 200 people who they felt was
the most effective leader on the world stage today. I even gave many hints,
such as "the person is living and doing well, does not live in the U.S.,
has little money, but makes news several times a week around the world."
person responded "Pope Francis." How can that be? After all, he
was Time Magazine's Person of the Year, and was also named the
World's Greatest Leader by Fortune Magazine. I believe that
the Pope's avuncular way, his humility, and his humanity are traits that are
not often associated with leadership. How we got into this pickle I am not
sure. Think about it: shouldn't a leader have all of those traits? Aren't the
days of bullies and authoritative mavericks (bullies by another name) over? If
they're not, they should be. However, Pope Francis has much more than a smile
and a wonderful demeanor. He has all the "stuff" that great leaders
are made of. Let's examine a few of his best characteristics so we can better
understand what makes him tick---and what makes him so effective.
He articulates a clear vision: This is something that the Pope
did from the moment of his election. Humility would define him and his papacy,
and he made it as clear as crystal. For example, when he was newly elected, he
asked the people around him to pray for him. That was
unprecedented. It is the custom of any new pope to give a prayer to the crowd
assembled to greet him in St. Peter's Square. He did that, but not until he
claimed himself to be a "sinner" in need of a prayer. Since then,
everything he has done has reinforced that trait. He drives a Ford Focus when
his protection detail allows him, he eschewed the papal palace, and removed the
papal throne; instead, he opted for a modest two-bedroom apartment and
sometimes cooks for himself like he has done for so many years of his life.
That leads us to our second trait.
His Entire Life is an Example: As in the examples above, Pope
Francis lives very modestly. But that is only the beginning of the Pope Francis
leadership memoir. He also does many things that he wants other members of the
clergy to do in order to signal to the world that his vision is a more
pastoral, more open and loving Church. For example, for his 77th birthday last
December, who did Francis choose to dine with? Was it other cardinals or
members of the clergy? Of course not. Instead, he decided to eat lunch with
four homeless people. No cameras. No photo ops. He feels more comfortable
eating with "regular" people. He honed that trait before he was Pope,
when he was known as "the Bishop of the Slums." During that period of
his life Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis' name before he became pope), made
a conscious decision to become more humble. His humility did not come naturally
to him. This is important, because it gives the rest of us hope that we all can
become more Francis-like.
He Does what Feels Right, Not What
Others Want to Hear: This
is a stand-out trait given today's 24-hour, cable news, TMZ- YouTube news
cycle. Think of the politicians of today. Whether it be in the U.S. or Europe
or wherever business is conducted, the vast majority of leaders pander to
cameras and constituencies. Not so with Pope Francis. I guess you can say that
he panders to one person: Jesus Christ. Everything he does is an attempt to
give the underdogs of our society a leg up. His entire focus is on opening the
church door wider so that he and the members of the clergy he leads can heal
He Executes with Precision: The best leaders know that
nothing is done well unless the leader executes in a timely and effective
manner. This is another area in which the pope shines. Since the outset of his papacy
he has made few wrong moves. He has signaled to the LGBT community that they
are welcome; he did the same thing with divorcees and spouses of
divorcees. He has transformed a cold and scolding church into a warm and
His Numbers are Incredible: How do we really know how effective
Pope Francs is? After all, how hard is it to send up a few trial balloons about
new ideas? So let's look at what we can measure. Isn't that our, for example,
business leaders are measured? Within six months of assuming the role of Pope,
Francis had increased weekly attendance in St. Peter's Square by an
astronomical 1,700 percent! He also has an approval rating of 88 percent,
double that of the American president and about 600 percent better than members
of congress. And as time goes on, he built bigger audiences and only gets more
popular. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!
Jeffrey A. Krames is the author of LEAD WITH HUMILITY: 12 LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM POPE FRANCIS. He is the CEO and president of JK Literary Services, a publishing & literary agency that specializes in leadership, management, and other business-related works. In a career that has spanned more than 33 years, Jeffrey served as editor-in-chief of Portfolio, the business book division of Penguin, and Vice President and Publisher of McGraw-Hill’s trade business books division. Jeffrey has personally edited and published more than 400 business books, including many award-winning, best-selling titles on business luminaries that include Jack Welch, Michael Ovitz, Ross Perot, William Paley, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Herb Kelleher and Lou Gerstner among others. Learn more about him at LEADWITHHUMILITY.COM.
Managers need to be able to hold their own with the Bean Counters. See my latest post over at About.com Management and Leadership for a handy cheat sheet for some of the most commonly used finance and accounting lingo.
You could also tell a couple of accountant jokes, but that's only going to get you so far and may backfire:
Why did the accountant cross the road? To bore the people on the other side. How can you tell when an accountant is extroverted? He looks at your shoes while he's talking to you instead of his own.
of the lessons that aspiring leaders must learn is:to be an effective leader, you have to be
able to lead individuals who are different than you.If you don’t, you will only gather
and lead those who are similar to you. This, in turn, limits what you can
accomplish.You actually don’t
want to lead a group of “Junior You’s”(although the idea seems intriguing, at first.) You may be talented but you can’t do
everything, and to accomplish significant goals you need team members who are
different (and even significantly
different) than you.
The 5 Different Types of
Appreciation People Value
is a simple but foundational truth: not everyone feels appreciated in the same
ways. Not everyone likes public
recognition or social events.One leader
stated, “You can give me an award but you’ll have to drag me up front for me to
get it in front of a crowd.”And for
many introverts, going to a “staff appreciation picnic” is more like torture
than a reward for doing a good job.They
may prefer getting a gift card for a bookstore and staying at home and
reading.Find out what they value and
communicate in that language.
people highly value words of affirmation—which
can be a simple compliment.(“Jill,
thanks for getting the report completed and to me in time for the
individuals don’t value verbal praise because to them “words are cheap.”One office manager reported that “John
compliments everyone all the time and that’s fine.But what I really would like is just 15
minutes of his time and undivided
attention, where I can talk to him without distractions.”
A third language of appreciation is “acts of service.”As one team member shared, “It’s not that
encouraging to me to get a bunch of praise for all the work I’ve done while I
continue to work long hours to finish a job.A little practical help would be quite encouraging.”
For some individuals, a small tangible gift can be quite
meaningful.This is not the same as
bonuses or additional compensation.Rather, it is a small gift that shows that you’re getting to know your
team members and what is important to them in their life outside of work.It can be something as small as one of their
favorite cups of coffee, or a magazine about a hobby that they enjoy.
physical touch is the final language of appreciation that can be utilized
in the workplace.While it is critical
that any physical touch is appropriate (not being sexualized or
unwanted), physical touch is actually common in many workplaces and cultures.
“High five’s” when a project is completed, a “fist bump” given when a problem
is solved, or a congratulatory hand shake when an important sale is made are
all examples of appropriate physical touch in work-based relationships.
you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.mbainventory.com)was developed to identify the language
of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee.You then can create a group profile for your
team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another.
not everyone desires to be shown appreciation in the same way that you do.If you are going to build (and keep) a team
of diverse individuals, you need to learn how they want to have appreciation communicated.If you don’t, your scope of influence will be
White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation
in the Workplace and Rising Above a Toxic Workplace with
Dr. Gary Chapman.Go to www.appreciationatwork.com for