We all love stories about others who inspire us. Wishing we were more like them.
It's why we watch sports. Buy People Magazine. It's why we all have heroes.
Your employees are no different. They seek to be inspired, even at work. To feel the vicarious thrill of being part of an organization led by someone who inspires them with courage, wisdom, tenacity and tenderness they wish they had. To be inspired by someone about whom they can tell stories of admiration to their families and friends. Someone who makes them feel special to be associated.
Inspired by you!
Few, however, are fortunate enough to reside in organizations where such a force exists. Maybe that's why so few are truly extraordinary performers. Because the seat of head story-maker is empty. It's also part of why I contend that the Job At The Top is seldom done well enough.
So, your Job At The Top includes giving them stories. To tell others. That inspire them to be like you. Consciously seeking to be extreme.
Be the lore they need -- and the person they are proud to serve.
But be careful. Stories can cut both ways: raise you on a pedestal or flatten you, bloody nosed, alone in the alley.
The stories you want are the ones the emphasize alignment with the principles of your business that you want reflected by everyone in their own choices and behaviors.
It's no mystery why Gen. George Patton stood in the turret of the lead tank on assault, chrome battle helmet gleaming in the sun and riding crop held high at salute.
It's also no mystery why Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Air, became the ultimate "fun guy."
Both strove to inspire replication by others of their own devotions to the principles of their organizations.
Be the lore. Look for opportunities to be extreme in alignment with how you want your business to be. To inspire your employees, customers, suppliers, business partners, banker, investors -- and yes, even your competitors' employees!
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