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Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Create Purpose Driven Cultures

 

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Create Purpose Driven Cultures

I’ve learned over the years that my most effective executive coaching and leadership development clients know the “why” of what they are passionate in achieving. They get excited in my office telling me inspiring stories of their hopes and struggles. They have a growth versus fixed mindset, and are optimistic and forward thinking. They live and work on the edge and flourish.

Successful organizations are driven by an over arching sense of purpose.  Operated by people with a strong sense of personal and professional passion, they view profit (or shareholder value, or the bottom line) as a result, not a reason for being in business. 

Shift your thinking and focus on what matters most - your organization's reason for being - and a culture that puts human capital first. These are the building blocks for success in a new era of relentless competition where the rules of the game have all changed. 

Take an inspiring journey through the principles that will drive success for companies in today’s economy. Identify your organizations over arching purpose and ignite passion on your team. Create a happy company where people can unleash their creativity and do their best work.

Emotionally intelligent leaders know that people need a sense of purpose to engage their enthusiasm and to be part of a greater cause and nobler endeavor. Mindfulness training can help you create a purpose-driven corporate culture where fired-up people collaboratively execute a well-designed strategy. Envision not what is possible or probable, but what your less innovative competitors think is impossible..

Purpose-Driven Leadership

Knowing why you’re here, and who you want to be, isn’t a part-time job. The challenge is to live out what you stand for, intentionally, in every moment. ~ Tony Schwartz, author

Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers, purpose and values have been identified as key drivers of high-performing organizations.

·    In Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal that purpose- and values-driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively.

·    In Corporate Culture and Performance, Harvard professors John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries.

·    In Firms of Endearment, marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia and his coauthors explain how companies that put employees’ and customers’ needs ahead of shareholders’ desires outperform conventional competitors in stock-market performance by 8:1.

Leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome insurmountable odds, writes Roy M. Spence Jr. in It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand for.

“Life is short, so live it out doing something that you care about,” he writes. “Try to make a difference the best way you can. There’s an enormous satisfaction in seeing the cultural transformation that happens when an organization is turned on to purpose.”

While a well-designed strategy and its effective implementation are required for business success, neither inspires followers to maintain engagement during troubled times. Purpose must tap into people’s hearts and help them give their best when the chips are down.

Don’t ever take a job— join a crusade! Find a cause that you can believe in and give yourself to it completely. ~ Colleen Barrett, president emerita of Southwest Airlines

In a company without purpose, people have only a vague idea of what they’re supposed to do. There’s always activity and busyness, but it’s often frenetic, disorganized and focused solely on short-term goals. There’s a lack of direction and commitment to purpose.

Top executives erroneously look to the competition when making decisions, rather than making up their own minds about what really matters. This lack of clarity leads to poor business decisions and failed product launches. Employees who work without purpose experience the consequences.

“Across organizations, nearly every survey suggests that the vast majority of employees don’t feel fully engaged at work, valued for their contributions, or freed and trusted to do what they do best,” reports Tony Schwartz in a recent  HBR.org blog post. “Instead, they feel weighed down by multiple demands and distractions, and they often don’t derive much meaning or satisfaction from their work. That’s a tragedy for millions of people and a huge lost opportunity for organizations.”

Lack of Full Engagement

Put simply, satisfied and engaged employees perform better. In a Towers Watson study of roughly 90,000 employees across 18 countries, companies with the most engaged employees reported a 19% increase in operating income and 28% growth in earnings per share. Companies whose employees had the lowest level of engagement had a 32% decline in operating income and an 11% drop in earnings.

People enjoy being engaged in meaningful work. Humans, by nature, are a passionate species, and most of us seek out stimulating experiences. Companies that recognize this and actively cultivate and communicate a worthwhile corporate purpose become employers of choice.

A major Gallup Organization research study identified 12 critical elements for creating highly engaged employees. About half deal with employees’ sense of belonging. One of the key criteria is captured in the following statement: “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.”

After basic needs are fulfilled, an employee searches for meaning in a job. People seek a higher purpose, something in which to believe. If, in your role as a leader, you aren’t articulating what you care about and how you plan to make a difference, then you probably aren’t inspiring full engagement.

Energy and Creative Flow

Having a purpose provides context for all of one’s efforts, and it’s a chief criterion for “flow”—the energy state that occurs when one’s mind, body and entire being are committed to the task at hand. Flow turns mundane work into completely absorbing experiences, allowing us to push the limits of skills and talents.

Flow and commitment also create healthier, happier employees, while driving innovative thinking. To tap into full engagement, leaders must clearly identify and articulate what truly matters to the company:

·   Why are we in business?

·    What difference do we want to make in the world?

·    What’s our most important purpose?

On some level, everyone wants to live a purposeful life, yet we are distracted by societal pressures to achieve wealth and prestige. There are indications, however, that this is changing. Just as GNP fails to reflect the well-being and satisfaction of a country’s citizens, a person’s net worth actually has little to do with personal fulfillment.

It is difficult to impossible to truly inspire the creators of customer happiness — the employees —  with the ethic of profit maximization…It is my experience that employees can get very excited and inspired by a business that has an important business purpose. ~ John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market

Leadership starts on a personal level and permeates one’s function in a company, community and society. While countless books address the importance of finding personal purpose, how does it play out within an organizational context? How do you link your personal purpose and values to those of your company?

Finding a Business Purpose

As work evolves in the 21st century, separating our professional and personal lives proves to be an artificial divide. Your personal purpose influences your work purpose, and vice versa.

A company’s purpose starts with its leaders and works its way through the organization. It shows up in products, services, and employee and customer experiences.

An inspirational purpose often lies hidden within an organization. The following suggestions will help you identify and articulate key elements:

1. Revisit your organization’s heritage (past history).

2. Review successes. At what does the business excel?

3. Start asking “why?”

4. What won’t your organization do? Review false starts and failures.

5. Talk to employees.

6. Talk to top leaders.

7. Talk to high performers.

8. Talk to customers.

9. Follow your heart.

Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling. ~ Aristotle

A purpose is informed by the world’s needs. When you build an organization with a concrete purpose in mind — one that fills a real need in the marketplace — performance will follow.

Ask the following questions:

·   Why does your organization do what it does?

·   Why is this important to the people you serve?

·   Why does your organization’s existence matter?

·   What is its functional benefit to customers and constituents?

·   What is the emotional benefit to them?

·   What is the ultimate value to your customer?

·   What are you deeply passionate about?

·   At what can you excel?

·   What drives your economic engine?

Mission statements used to have a purpose. The purpose was to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stood for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another.  ~ Seth Godin, marketing expert

When a mission statement is well written, it serves as a declaration of purpose. But corporate mission statements are often little more than a descriptive sentence about products, aspirations or desired public perceptions. They’re more powerful when they clearly and specifically articulate the difference your business strives to make in the world.

Leaders who want to succeed should straightforwardly communicate what they believe in and why they’re so passionate about their cause, according to business consultant Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Portfolio, 2010).

Most people know what they do and how they do it, Sinek says, but few communicate why they’re doing it.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy into why you do it,” he emphasizes.

If you don’t know and cannot communicate why you take specific actions, how can you expect employees to become loyal followers who support your mission?

The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. ~ James Baldwin, author

The Bridge to What Matters

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ~ Helen Keller

Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney always communicated their “why”—the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit:

·   Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone.

·   Apple’s Steve Wozniak thought everyone should have a computer and, along with Steve Jobs, set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo.

·   Wal-Mart's Sam Walton believed all people should have access to low-cost goods.

·   Starbuck’s Howard Schultz wanted to create social experiences in cafés resembling those in Italy.

Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values:

·   In what way can you make a difference through company products and services?

·   How can you express what truly matters in the work you do?

·   In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with?

Making a Difference

When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.

You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with what you want them to do. You must first communicate why it’s important.

Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of why they do what they do and why people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.

Leaders are the stewards of organizational energy. They recruit, direct, channel, renew, focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. The energy of each individual contributor in the corporation must be actively recruited. This requires aligning individual and organizational purpose. ~ Authors James Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

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