“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” ~Elon Musk
This past Friday, our team hosted a Holiday season celebration. Judging from the smiles, the “let loose” attitudes, and the laughter, I can say, we had a great time—success! And we needed it. Our team has been invested in the stand up of an organization with a mission that did not previously exist. Our team has worked hard year-round. The celebration was needed and so well deserved!
For the party, the committee decided to go with a ‘70s theme. Everyone (well, at least most) dressed up in 70s attire, and went out to have a good time. When I think back in the early preparation for the party, I remember several of us in the staff thinking the ‘70s idea did not quite fit the season. Still, we decided to just give it a try. Boy, were we surprised—it was a hit!
Moral of the story? Listen to the team, and get out of the way. We, “seasoned” people don’t have all the answers.
But what I wanted to discuss as our leadership thought this week is not the party itself, but the things we do as leaders that produce such an effect. The party just reminded me about how lucky and blessed I am to be surrounded with great people every day. These are some of the most professional and hard-working people I’ve ever met in my career. They motivate me!
The party also highlighted to me the things we as a team do that make a difference. I’ve always been of the belief that every worker in America deserves a workplace where each person can rise to his or her highest potential. We are all in this together. A great workplace for our people is also a great workplace for the leader. The leader also flourishes. The organization flourishes.
The work of the leader is to create the environment through deliberate intent. It must be done. It’s way too important to have the right climate and culture; otherwise, everything else will matter little. If it must be done, then it’s important, and one must give it our best effort daily.
Related Post: “Every Other Effort Will Be futile”
What are the kinds of things leaders can do to create that awesome working environment our people deserve? A few weeks ago, I wrote some short thoughts on culture in a blog post titled, “Every Other Effort Will Be Futile.” I highlighted that, “Leaders have the responsibility to shape the culture in an organization.” And how do they do that?
This will be over-simplistic, but I’d like to say, leaders do something and try to beat the odds. Sure, I can give you a whole paper full of details. And as many of us do, we would be embedded in all kinds of strategic mapping to build a wonderful plan. But the truth is that the impact is not in building the plan (yes, its’ important). The impact lies in action.
Impactful leaders do, moving in action with a clear picture of the desired feel they would like to have in their organizations. Un-impactful leaders do the opposite. I’ve observed how well-intentioned leaders get so bogged down in planning, that when it comes time to execute, the energy reservoir is exhausted. There’s no more energy left. Don’t fall into that trap. Get going—think quickly and do!
Here are some important questions that lead to quick actions. What would you like to see in the organization? Write it down. Get the team together and get going. What do your people need and would like to see in the organization? Ask them. Don’t think that you know—case in point? The party I just talked about.
What are the stories in your organization? Ask your people, or just listen to what is being said. If those are not the stories you want to hear about the organization, replace them with new ones that convey pride and showcase your people.
Are the pictures of your heroes displayed on the walls? Do you and your team talk about them? If there are none, it’s time to discover the talent that already exist in your organization.
Pictures and symbols are important. As a young service-member, I remember seeing the pictures of senior enlisted leaders on important buildings around the base. I never thought I would get there (to have my picture displayed on a wall), but I thought that I was important because that person was a representation of me. Never under-estimate symbols. They paint the picture much better than words can.
And finally, does your team celebrate? What do you celebrate? What should the team celebrate? Celebrations bring people together. They all get to know and appreciate each other. To celebrate is to appreciate shared values. If you celebrate, you’ll build cohesion…and more.
Sure, none of this stuff is easy to do at the beginning. If you’re a leader, this stuff will consume a lot of your energy. But it’s important, so do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
Always motivated, lugo
Copyright © 2016 Jose A. LugoSantiago – Craft Your Journey!
Dr. Jose Lugo Santiago is the chief leadership and foresight strategist for LS|EG, a consulting firm dedicated to facilitating change through leadership, strategy, and foresight. He holds over 28 years of experience leading organizations in the military and civilian sectors, and crafting strategy to meet successful business process re-engineering and innovation. He is also the author of several titles to include peer-reviewed academic works. His doctoral areas of research are Leadership and Foresight, Culture, Strategic Change, and Organizational Development.