Leadership Behavior

Inspire the Vision

Kouzes and Posner's work on leadership practices, which are leadership behaviors, aligns well with other leadership research, such as transformational leadership and personality traits. Inspiring a vision is telling a compelling story. It is giving people a reason to WANT to work hard bringing the vision to reality. This leadership behavior sets the tone of the organization and expectations for right behavior.

Leadership Tips

Brain science shows that people naturally remember stories better than lists, dates, data, etc. To inspire your vision, be sure you have a clear vision and then tell a great story of the good things that happen when your vision is realized.

Vision Paths There are two paths toward enacting this leadership behavior :

1. Have a vision; build the company to enact the vision

Allan Hollendar in Zentrepreneurism cites several successful businesses such as Arran Stephens of Nature's Path Foods, Inc. the world's largest organic breakfast foods company. Stephen's vision is "to be a trusted name for organics foods in every home - socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and financially viable - nurturing people, nature and spirit." Stephens started out with a single, vegetarian restaurant and built increasing larger business--all driven by the vision.

2. Have a business; craft a new vision

If your business is no longer engergized by your vision, it's time for a new one. When Lou Gerstner was brought into an ailing IBM, he had some idea of what the new vision would be. Gerstner had been a customer of IBM and knew what he had wanted from IBM and couldn't get. Starting with his own customer perspective, Gerstner then worked through a visioning process similar to that described by Feinstein as quoted in Never Rule Without A Magician, A Sage and a Fool. For more detail on IBM's transformation, see Who Says Elephants Can't Dance by Gerstner.

This is Business, Why Use Myth?

Myths are great and more importantly, MEMORABLE stories with a point. Dull, dry corporate visions are forgotten. You know the ones--straight out of a jargon generator.

Real visions have heart and brains and heroism. Real visions excite passion. When you are ready to lead a passionate workforce, consider Feinstein's model of transformation.

David Feinstein's five-stage model for transformation:

  1. Recognize when a guiding myth is no longer an ally
  2. Bring conflicting myths into focus
  3. Spawn a new mythic vision
  4. Move from vision to commitment
  5. Weave the renewed myth into daily life

Make your myth the stuff of Hercules or Athena.

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