November 8, 2011 7 Comments
We all know the expression (where did it come from, anyway? Anybody know??) – “Let’s not go there!”
If a topic for potential discussion touches a painfully raw nerve, we’d just as soon bypass that destination. Don’t go there! Why? Because we see only pain, no gain.
To “go there,” we need a compelling WWIFM (What’s In It For Me). And it’s the same with leadership of others. People will follow a leader – if the destination looks like gain that will outweigh any anticipated pain.
I hate to go all non-idealistic on you, but my buy-in to any vision and direction is correlated to my sense, my agreement, that the goal, and the leader, are aligned with my best interests.
However skillfully we paint the picture and seek to rally support, if those that are to follow us don’t want to “go there,” we’re not going to lead them there.
Now, if know me, you know I’m an idealist. And I firmly believe that people operate best when they are involved in a cause, a mission, much bigger than themselves. But I also know that, whatever the cause – however grand and sweeping and even sacrificial it may be – the engine that will drive a group of people to follow is alignment of interests that includes a clear WIIFM.
So – how do we get others to follow our lead? Bluntly put, it’s sales – not slimy, sleazy, lying sales, but selling nonetheless. It’s selling the vision – AND selling the benefits to the customer. If you’re a leader, you’re in sales – simple as that.
What was Steve Jobs of Apple, if not a consummate salesperson? He had to sell his entire organization on his vision of supremely great user experience – and, when it was time to step down, he also had to achieve buy-in that the next leader would carry on the vision. No small task!
Take everything my LeadershipChat co-host Lisa Petrilli wrote in her prep post for our discussion this week (Leadership Advice – Getting Others to Follow Your Lead). Package together Vision, Trust, Communication, and Energy, and what do you have? Effective selling (the kind that exists with integrity).
What do you think? How do you enable others to follow you? Join us for the discussion on LeadershipChat (#LeadershipChat on Twitter) at 8 pm ET Tuesday night, November 8th as we tackle this topic. You’ll find a group of warm, smart, and motivated friends who will welcome you to our weekly chat at the leadership table!
Hire Steve Woodruff if your identity and message need clarity (Business Identity Therapy)
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