Engagement - Selling Down - Part II

In my last blog, I discussed the picture of leadership today – how leaders need to engage their employees and be more involved.  I have a few more thoughts about what it takes to be an effective leader.

We call ourselves a "market-facing organization." We face the final three feet in the market. We find opportunity in the market and customers tell us how they want to be served. We can make assumptions about what clients and customers want from us, and we can put ourselves in their shoes, but without getting into the marketplace and engaging the consumer's experience, our assumptions are irrelevant.
So let's carry that logic into our company leadership.

Dictating a vision doesn't get leaders anywhere, and if leaders aren't going anywhere, neither is the team. Leadership is about unearthing shared pictures to develop an ever-changing shared vision. In sales, we talk about buy-in, but when we ask our teams to buy in, we should really be asking them to dream with us.

In my company, we do not make a move without unanimous alignment among the leadership team. If one person disagrees with a decision, no one pulls rank. No one calls "majority rules." If one person is out of sync, the whole team stops and assesses. Leading an organization is not just about listening to all of the perspectives, but experiencing them. If one person is consistently out of sync, it's possible that they are not unearthing shared pictures with the rest of the team, but instead working on their own vision. This is important to note because a difference of opinion and a difference of goals are different issues and will throw off the team's balance.

Leading an organization can be fun if your people are engaged. The vision can keep changing and growing as more voices and representations are invited in. Get your young people on board. Bring in someone whose perspective is different than most. Develop leaders from within. Go for a ride along and get your feet wet in the market. Just like in sales, you will learn more when you are receptive to another experience, and your organization will only get better for it.


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