How to start a Leadership Revolution
Before we can begin to create a culture of effective and powerful leadership, we must have a cause that everyone can rally around. Throughout history, every revolution came about as a result of the failure of leaders to understand or empathize with what the people wanted. When it became clear that they were not listening, the people chose to take action against their leaders. Don’t let that happen to you!
During the French Revolution of the late 1700’s the unfair, unjust French Monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in only three years at the hands of the disgruntled citizenry. During the American Revolution, the British Government was driven from the shores of America by the settlers who wanted the right to freedom and self-government. In these, and in all other successful revolutions throughout history, unjust, unfair, uncommunicative, leadership groups were overthrown by their subjects. Their causes were fairness, equal opportunity, inclusion and civil rights. Although the methods and the results were much more extreme than what we normally see in business, a revolution of any kind is never good for those in leadership positions.
I am proposing that clear-minded, progressive leaders everywhere start their own Leadership Revolutions now...before their employees start one of their own!
Before we can start our Leadership Revolution we must identify what we are fighting for. Our causes should be designed to maintain and develop the success, perpetuation, and growth of our businesses. In order to prevent our workers from revolting against us, thereby reducing our corporate effectiveness, we need to include them in our revolution in a real and tangible way.
I would recommend that right now, you start thinking about your revolution, identify your causes and write them down. Show your employees what you believe your causes should be and ask for their input.
Important: When you ask for input from your employees, listen to what they have to say and implement as many of their ideas as possible.
If you ask for input, disregard it, and simply do what you were planning to do in the first place, the employees will start a revolution of their own...one that you cannot win!
Once you have communicated with your people and developed a plan for the future, give it a name. Create a slogan that everyone can easily remember and rally around.
Take a page out of the Hewlett Packard handbook and broadcast your leadership philosophy to the world. HP is known to be one of the most successful technology firms in the world and their success was not by accident. Early in their history, the leaders of Hewlett Packard developed a leadership system that they coined, “Management by walking around” or MBWA. It is a plan for humble leadership based on employee inclusion and communication. To simplify and personalize the 12 guidelines for MBWA, they dubbed their leadership style “The HP Way.” Not only did MBWA become the mantra of Hewlett Packard, it has been emulated and followed by thousands of successful firms all over the world. HP started a revolution and enlisted their employees before their employees felt the need to start their own. Over 70 years since its incorporation, HP is still one of the most successful and respected firms in the world.
Does your firm have a cause? Do your employees know what it is?
Of course, developing a cause is just the genesis of the revolution. All revolutions take time and all begin with small steps. The important thing is that the revolutionary army, (your staff) has a strong leader to guide the process and make sure that morale is continuously and consistently kept at a high level. The leader must have the integrity, dedication and like all battlefield commanders, the courage to carry on the fight until the war is won or until it is time to retire his or her command.
Are you that leader?
If the French Monarchy had listened to its people and worked alongside them for improvement in 1789, many lives could have been saved. If the British Government had worked with the American settlers in 1775 rather than sending troops in to crush them, things would be much different today. It could easily be argued that the American Revolution was the best thing that could have happened to the United States of America, but as you can imagine the British Government of the day did not feel the same way. Their loss was tremendous...and permanent. Don’t let that happen to you!
Start your Leadership Revolution now!
All the Best