Without a Vision, the People Perish

According to Ken Blanchard, probably best known for the book he collaborated on with Spencer Johnson (The One Minute Manager), the modern workplace is in a mess because of bad management and poor leadership.

When I read the following stats at his site, they certainly stopped me in my tracks and made me think. If those figures are realistic, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, is it any wonder that so many organisation are constantly wrestling with the question of how they can get their staff motivated?

Actually, I remember Stephen Covey making a similar point on one of his audio programs (The 8th Habit).

  • 20% of employees feel passionate about their jobs
  • 69% believe their boss does not inspire the best in them
  • 33% believe they have reached a dead-end at their job

As a leader, it is our job to inspire others. With an inspired workforce it is truly amazing what could happen in your company or organisation. But people can become disillusioned when they feel they are just running around in a treadmill; worse still, if they are doing that, because that is what their job demands, and in return they are getting absolutely no recognition.

Leadership is fundamentally about inspiration. When Martin Luther King stood up to make his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech, he inspired a generation who went on to change social conditions in America and that is a great example of what can be achieved through leadership. Notice that he was not responsible for making the change happen – other people did that – but he inspired them to do it.

So think about your own job and your own organisation. Do you feel inspired by the vision and mission? You do know what the vision is don’t you? If you don’t, then it’s not your fault. You are simply one of the 69% who have not been inspired by the organisation for whom you are giving your time and effort.

If you do know the vision and mission of the company or organisation for whom you work and you also feel inspired by its promise of a bright future, do you further understand how your role contributes to its fulfilment? If the answer is ‘no’, it probably puts you into the 80% of people who don’t feel passionate about their jobs.

If either of the above applies to you, then perhaps it is time you evaluated where you are right now and whether or not you are in the right place. I believe it is really important to work at something you feel passionate about. You have to spend a lot of your life doing this stuff, so don’t you think you should really be doing something you enjoy?

If you are a manager or leader in your organisation, then you need to ensure you are providing leadership. You first need a strong vision that people care about and feel they want to get behind. If you will be brave enough to inspire people, give them autonomy and empower them to take action, the results could truly astound you.

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