If you’re looking to channel your inner superhero, I have good news. Most of them are not born: They’re made. From Top Gun fighter pilots to caped crusaders, CEOs are the action figures the whole company turns to in times of need.
The bad news? If you can’t communicate why your vision matters, the people you need most will never help you get your big idea off the ground.
I know. Because it happened to me.
A while back my partner and I grew a local landscape business into a regional powerhouse. We tripled its market value, grew our base and kept employees engaged. Our teams worked together to pull our vision over the finish line and reap the benefits of success.
However, there were times my ability to inspire didn’t meet the moment.
When I searched for a way to make our message more compelling, I turned to the motivational mantras of rugby — a game I played before business — to help our company become one of the greatest business teams in our market.
The New Zealand All Blacks is rugby royalty. They have a famously consistent team culture and perform the Haka — a Maori dance designed to intimidate the competition and energize the home team.
How did they become invincible? Was it showmanship or was it something else?
It turns out, it was a fierce commitment to win together.
How did they get there? They asked themselves three things:
- How can we be better?
- How can we make the team better?
- How can we make the future better?
How can we be better?
A conversation about change is the ultimate test of your company’s emotional intelligence and an opportunity to build trust. Invite your employees into the process and say: 1. “Here are my ideas about what needs to change and why.” 2. “I need your input on direction.” 3. “You are important to me and I need your help to make this work.” By putting your vision in the hands of your employees, they’ll be empowered to make it happen. Make the message and process bilingual so no one gets left out.
How can we make the team better?
As important as your executive team is, you need positive energy and enthusiasm from everyone to maintain momentum. Who are your company’s best cheerleaders? Look to your people in the field or the back office or someone you least expect who can be your greatest vision ambassadors. Celebrate incremental wins, recognize and reward progress on goals and make it fun so everyone shares pride in the results.
How can we make the future better?
Balanced Scorecards are the nitty-gritty of getting your company from here to there. They work to identify slippage, and improve operational performance and processes so your vision doesn’t get lost in the execution. As a management tool, it helps you choose the right things to measure so you can reach your goal, and puts those things into a comprehensive dashboard so everyone’s on the same page. In other words, it takes the abstract of big picture thinking and breaks it down into actionable, deadline-driven steps.
I’ve been an athlete and a CEO. In both, my success was a direct result of teams who made my game soar. But like jumping off a cliff and building an airplane on the way down, the more aerodynamic the wing, the faster your idea can climb.
Reprinted with permission. GIE Media. Lawn & Landscape December 2022 (c)