Most Important Leadership Question Ever!
The Most Important Leadership Question: Why does this enterprise (organisation or business) exist?
The story is told of two labourers working at a large building site in Europe in the 18th century. One was swearing and cursing as he moved never ending amounts of dirt and material in what seemed to him to be total drudgery. The other was working hard and had a spring in his step and seemed energized by his mundane work. When asked, the first said he was doing meaningless work that he hated, while the second exclaimed, “I’m building a great Cathedral that will still be here long after I’m gone.” The second man realized that he was not just doing manual labour but he was an essential part of building an amazing building that would be appreciated for generations. Obviously he asked and answered for himself each day the most important leadership question. Understanding the BIG WHY totally changed his attitude to his labour. Interesting!
Every successful enterprise has a BIG WHY! This is also called: VISION
Vision statements should be short, easy to remember, and motivating!
Everyone in an organisation needs to know the ‘BIG WHY’ in clear and easy to understand terms. This is especially true for anyone expected to give leadership direction but even the volunteer on reception who answers the phone and the casual who does a menial task for a couple of hours a week should know why their contribution is important.
When people understand the ‘BIG WHY’ it RELEASES:
- Motivation – Vision motivates, whereas tasks, even noble tasks, can make people weary especially when the going gets tough.
- Participation – when people are secure about the boundaries of vision they find it easier to participate. In so many organisations team members hold back because leaders have not shown them how their role connects to vision.
- Engagement – when vision is clear the right people will be drawn to engage with your enterprise
- Contribution – it is amazing how much people will give if they know their efforts make a valuable contribution. This is vital for any team member, and especially for volunteers.
- Long-term commitment – people love, in fact crave a sense of purpose in their lives. When they believe that their work has great purpose they will always be more committed.
- Clear direction – plans and themes may change but consistency of vision will enable clear direction.
- Personal growth and change – When the vision is clear team members are more secure and more willing to realize their need to stretch and grow and accept change to move the vision forwards.
- Clear priorities – if we know why we are here then it is much easier to avoid wasting time on the things that are non-essential or distractions from the main direction. This in turn makes decision making much easier.
- Corporate significance – If an enterprise has clear vision and makes regular progress towards achieving that vision, undoubtedly there will be significant benefits for many people inside and outside the organisation
- Team morale – vision and all the first 9 points contribute to healthy team morale.
Among the many roles of a leader, none is more important than making vision clear, simple and motivating. This enables people to be able to ANSWER the most important leadership question daily – for themselves and for others.
Do you and your team know the ‘BIG WHY’ for your organisation or business?
Your success will always depend on how you answer this most important leadership question.