Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
You have heard it many times that where people spend their time, money and energy is where you will find what they value. The key here is that it is what THEY value and not value from your perspective. Many times, people assume that because they feel an object or activity has value, it then must have value to others as well. You can have the most incredible peanut shell collection in the world but if someone else doesn’t place value on that collection, well, there isn’t a market for it.
In a working environment, people are assigned projects for which they are responsible. While it may not be where they would elect to spend their time, by the fact that it is where they spend their time, they then place value on their project. But for those who are not impacted by the project, they may not see the same value. If they can’t identify the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me), they may de-value the project and decline to participate or acknowledge that it is a priority.
Frustration sets in when an initiative fails to get traction or after initial success, it loses momentum. In those cases, the value to your audience has declined in what it costs to participate.
Too often, people don’t recognize the decline or that there is a simple value proposition mismatch because they are so close to the situation. “It’s important to me, so why isn’t it important to you also?”
KNOW YOUR WHY
Take the time to understand the potential value of your project. What else does it bring to the table? Maybe it saves money or time. Maybe it allows another group to get easier access to information. Maybe there is a community or sustainability impact. Find a way to convert your why into terms that relate to them and can help motivate others to see value as well. You can't blame people for not buying into what you are selling. There are a lot of things vying for their time and resources. At work, Teams have their own project and their own priorities and having a greater understanding of the potential value of your project outside of your own world will help you engage others.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Taking the time to identify the priorities of others can quickly highlight areas of importance for them. It can shed light on how their performance will be measured and if your project doesn’t help them, it can be difficult for them to justify spending time supporting your project. What resource limitations and challenges are they facing? Are they people who are focused on doing their job or doing the job that needs to get done? Determining this can help you in understanding their own motivation.
FIND THE MOTIVATION
It’s not the sheer greatness of the project from your perspective that will unite people to support, participate and move a project forward. People are no longer sled dogs or a mule train that will blindly move forward. People, regardless of motivation, want to make an IMPACT, to be part of something successful. People can only be part of something when they know that they can have that impact, that they and others will be better for them having been part of the project.
When you can translate and align values between groups or people, you can help identify the common value or at least identify the potential value to them if they engage or support the project. Connecting the value and the impact that they can have on the project as well as the impact the project can have on them, is how you can maximize your projects value Beyond Today.
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Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.
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