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The Four Secrets of Passionate Leaders

As a leader, a decrease in your level of passion can start a vicious cycle. These 4 secrets will help drive that passion!

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One of the biggest challenges today’s business leaders face when striving to take their organization to the next level is finding ways to inject more passion into their teams while maintaining a consistent level of passion themselves. Injecting passion into an organization is difficult and fleeting at the best of times, but in the midst of the frustrations and disappointments that come with striving to grow your business, it is even more challenging.

As a leader, a decrease in your level of passion can start a vicious cycle, especially when faced with sluggish organizational growth.  Few business leaders have the recipe for successfully inspiring a team’s passion, much less maintaining it. Some may even be missing the key ingredients. As a result, their efforts fall short. To take your organization to the next level, you need the right people, strategies and execution habits to achieve record-breaking business growth that boosts the bottom line.

To be a passionate leader, embrace these four secrets:

1. Surround yourself with the right people.

  • Discover your organization’s core values – Core values are a non-negotiable handful of rules your organization lives by every day. These values become your organization’s attitude and should drive your organization’s behavior, who you hire, and who you promote.
  • Hire “A” players – Kip Tindell of The Container Store believes one “A” player is as productive as three mediocre players. Use a proven hiring process like Topgrading to ensure you are hiring a high percentage of “A” players.
  • Take action on your “C” players – There are only two options for “C” players. Take advantage of their strengths by moving them somewhere else within your organization where they can be “A” players, or move them out of your organization.
  • Build your external team – It’s important to have people outside of your organization who can be a sounding board for ideas, pat you on the back, or kick you in the ass. Your external team should include a mastermind group, advisory board, and a coach.

2. Keep your eye on your purpose and vision.

  • Discover your purpose – If you are a successful leader, you are probably very goal focused. Balance the scale by defining a life’s purpose that focuses on service to others. While goals won’t be achieved every day, you can live your purpose every day. Read The Rhythm of Life  by Matthew Kelly for more information on creating your life’s purpose.
  • Create a personal vision – Another way to take your focus off the day-to-day struggles is to create a three-year vision for your life. Write it as if you are already there and thankful for all that has happened. Dividing them into the following sections helps keep the focus: Finance, Career, Family, Social, Physical, Mental and Spiritual.
  • Create an organizational vision – Create three to five year goals and a ten to fifteen year BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal). Read Collins and Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

3. Implement a consistent execution process.

  • Identify a small number of priorities – If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Create three to five priorities for your organization for the quarter and the year. Review the priorities weekly and update them quarterly.
  • Keep score – Use sports as a model and know the score. At the end of every day, your team members should be able to answer the question, “How did you do today?” with one or more key metrics.
  • Create a meeting rhythm – Keep your organization cohesive and aligned through consistent communication. It will also speed decision-making. For great meeting rhythm models, read Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish or Death By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni.

4. Work on your attitude every day.

  • Look down – Though having a long-term vision is critical, it is also important to focus on your short-term progress and goals. It is like pedaling a bicycle up a big hill. If you keep your eye on the top of the hill, you may get discouraged before you reach the top. If you keep your eye on the road and see the progress you are making, it will encourage you to keep going.
  • Tell yourself a positive story – When things are uncertain—as they very often are for business leaders—it’s easy to tell yourself a negative story, such as, “That prospect isn’t calling back because they lost interest in our services.” These negative stories can spiral out of control and have a major impact on your level of passion. Make a habit of telling yourself a positive, productive story instead. This doesn’t mean being blind to things that may be going wrong. This brings focus on the productive actions you can take instead of on the frustration and paralysis.

Have an empowering attitude “recipe” – We all have a healthy recipe for feeling good. It might be a specific piece of music, a long walk, meditation, talking to a friend, exercise, or a positive book. For me, a long walk and AC/DC’s Back in Black does it every time!

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