"5 Power Tips To Inspire"
Newsletter Nov 6, 2014
In an age where it's possible to revolutionize an industry with a great idea and the right resources, those who inspire others are often the most successful. People like Steve Jobs will be remembered not just as brilliant innovators, but as passionate individuals who inspired others to change the world.
This week, we're sharing 5 tips to spread the wealth and inspire those around you to be the best.
1. Be passionate about what you do. You cannot inspire those around you without first being completely committed to what you do. Stand by your idea, be its strongest proponent, and get others excited about it. Simply put, you need to love what you do before you can expect others to feel the same way. Discover what makes you so passionate and share it with others. Have reasons ready for doubters and naysayers to convince them that what you're doing is truly something to be excited about. Understand that others are not like you. They have their own hot buttons that get them excited. Look into what they are doing now that grabs them and make that your platform to get them on board. Don’t talk about what excites you, talk about whatever it is that excites them. Once you do this, you will begin to share a passion and cooperation flows more freely, as a result. Enthusiasm is infectious, get them excited about what they like and it is then much easier to get them interested in what excites you.
2. Encourage great ideas. Famous innovators didn't climb to the top on their own. Assemble a team of people you trust that have proven themselves to think outside the box. Make sure you have some risk takers in there, some of history's most important innovations have started with "crazy" ideas. Hear everyone out and try new things; don't be afraid to fail. Keep a constant pulse on what is going on in the world. Never stop learning, inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.
Telling people "that won’t work", "we have already tried that", "stupid idea" are all confidence crushers. We are all deeply camped in our Comfort Zones and we stay there because it is so safe. We have eliminated all risk and are free to move within the narrow bands of that zone. Innovation, by its very nature, requires that we get out of the Comfort Zone and explore new trails. This is not very appealing to many folk, because of all the risk of the new involved. To help people step out of their Comfort Zone, we have to create an atmosphere of great trust, where failure when innovating is accepted and not punished, where criticism does not decimate people who are timidly exploring the boundaries of their zone. We need to be giving people a huge amount of support and encouragement. Don’t wait for big things to be achieved to recognize and praise people – find micro segments of progress and praise those. This will give them the confidence to keep trying, to keep pushing.
3. Eliminate time wasters. You need to be constantly probing to find out what activities are wasting your team's time and energy. Prioritization of activities is a key component of any business success. The Pareto Principle is a great guide as to what we should be prioritizing. We should be ensuring everyone knows that they need to be spending 80% of their available time concentrated on the 20% of activities, which are generating 80% of the outcomes.
For the really super, super focused among us, we can take this even one step further. Really strip it down and concentrate on the 20% of the 20%, which is the 4% of things that lead to 80% of the 80%, that is the ultimate 64% of the outcomes.
Think about the efficiencies involved here. We spend 4% of our time to get 64% of our outcomes – sounds like a pretty good deal. So, which are the 4% we need to working on above all else – that is the key question.
Inspiring others depends on sharing a goal and building momentum. If you hit a dead end, scrap it and move in a different direction. You should always be asking those on your team what they would change if they had the chance. Don't continue doing something just because it's the way it has "always been done." "What if" scenarios are a good way of challenging the established order. What if we stopped doing this or that, what if we started doing this or that, etc.? We pick up the detritus of habits, carry them around with us for too long and don’t take the time to question what we are doing and why we are doing it. Always good to include a reality check in our business processes to shed excess baggage slowing us down.
4. Don't limit yourself. On the road to success, there will be many doubters and those who tell you it simply cannot be done. Don't be constrained by existing conventions, nothing inspires more than pushing the limits and achieving the "impossible." Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player has a great quote on the subject of failure, ""I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed".
Failure is a fact of life in business, so it is not the point of failure that should grab our attention – it is how we react to failure that is the key. Michael Jordan kept going, despite the boos on court, the nasty media articles, the coach’s grumpy face, the sense of personal shame that he felt. He didn’t react by giving up, he reacted by trying harder, pushing harder, continuing, continuing, continuing.
Winston Churchill was once invited back to his Private Boy’s School to give a talk to inspire the eager assembled boys. Here is reproduced the entirety of his talk that day, "Never, never, never give up!", and with that completed, he sat down! We can learn much from a sportsman and a famous politician, and just keep going regardless.
5. Stand by your word. Be genuine, transparent, and honest. You cannot inspire others without trust. Be passionate about your employees and their ideas and trust them to try their hardest. If you make a mistake, admit it quickly and emphatically. Don't be afraid to try new things and fail, but always keep your word. Your word is your bond is an old idea and we break that bond at our peril. Our reputation is the sum total of how trustworthy we are. Short cuts become long cuts, if we forget this simple idea.
People around us don’t expect perfection, but they do expect consistency. Consistency allows predictability and predictability is safe. We all like safe. We like people to do what they say, when they say it will be done. We build our lives on relying that others will do the right thing. When they don’t, we feel betrayed and insecure, we feel fear of being compromised by this unreliable person. The usual antidote is to avoid them if possible, but at the least to never rely on them or trust them ever again. We will forgive people for being idiots, but we don’t forgive them for being liars. So protect your reputation for reliability at all costs and never trade something against this, no matter how great the temptation.