“We talked the same language but we were all saying different things.”
This is the verbatim comment of an HR Executive at a tech company. We worked with this client to give their future growth plans wings, co-creating a leadership blueprint aligned to strategy, backed up by metrics and succession plans. The exec went on to tell us:
“I think we did not realise how misaligned the team was, and how far we were from the common goal.”
This work struck a real chord with us. We have been wondering exactly how many potentially game-changing leadership teams fall short of amazing impact because of the challenge of ‘talking the same language but saying different things’.
Are you talking the same language yet saying different things in your leadership team?
What is the effect on the success of the organisation and everyone within it? The work of leadership guru Simon Sinek provides some excellent provocations to activate our thinking. Sinek has studied leaders with great influence and he identifies a common thread that links them – they appear to think, act and communicate in a similar way. He calls it the “Golden Circle”.
Many leaders, products and companies can communicate, quite clearly, what they do and how they do it. However, people don’t buy what you do, says Sinek, they buy why you do it. Great leaders understand this. They inspire others to action, rather than manipulate or coerce; they communicate first with the ‘why’, and then follow up with the ‘how’ and the ‘what’. This Golden Circle formula lays a framework for building great organisations, with inspired employees aligned around a common and articulated purpose. Of course even before communicating the Why, you have to know what it is. Profit is not purpose, Sinek strongly argues, that is a result. Why would customers buy from one company over another, why are some employees loyal to some leaders over others? Is the business clear about their Why?
People don’t follow because they are manipulated, they do so when inspired. They follow, and keep following, because they choose to. And a common focus or goal, beyond making money, allows people to engage and contribute on a more meaningful level.
Get clarity on your Why (purpose), and then commit to ensuring that your leaders are both clear on the Why and the role they play, effectively communicating it across the business.
We fundamentally believe that it is time to adapt, learn and thrive. Talk to us about our experimental tools and methods to make this a reality within your sphere of influence.
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