I believe a defining characteristic of inspiring organizations is the ruthless focus on defining and guarding organizational clarity. Simon Sinek in his book “Start With Why” links clarity directly to inspiration. His premise is this:
Inspiration comes in a variety of forms, but the root of it grows from a fundamental question asked by those who are able to inspire others. The most important question of all, according Simon, is: Why do we do what we do?
I believe most successful organizations share two qualities: they are smart, and they are healthy. An organization demonstrates it is smart by being able to clearly define “what” services they offer or “what” feature benefits they provide. Examples would include clearly defined strategies, marketing plans, product features, and financial models that lead to competitive advantage over its rivals. Organizations demonstrate they are healthy by eliminating confusion on “why” they exist. This leads to higher morale, lower turnover, and higher productivity. Virtually all healthy organizations avoid confusion by having pinpoint clarity on their driving primary purpose. Their big goal AND their non-negotiable values that drive behavior.
Guarding and creating ever increasing levels of clarity around the “why” of your organization is one of the primary responsibilities of every leader. However, beyond a responsibility, it will bring freedom for you to work in your area of passion and simultaneously gather other like minded individuals to your cause. It is the sum of all these people working together, impassioned by a common goal, that will make possible the exponential impact that everyone seeks but few attain.
Simon Sinek, in the video below, discusses some of the science and powerful results that can come from focusing ruthlessly on organization clarity…and the inspiration that results. This is a great 15 min video.
Disclaimer & Next Steps:
I think after watching something like this there is a temptation to quickly rank one’s own organization and potentially become frustrated. Instead of becoming frustrated and not doing anything, I challenge you to watch this video with your team and discuss some of the principles. No organization is perfect, but being part of an honest and transparent organization brings a lot of freedom. I know I have been thankful that I am part of a team that is willing to discuss these principles and constantly refine how to continually learn and grow.
So, what stuck out to you after watching this? I especially found the discussion around our limbic brain and neo-cortex interesting. Also, the law of diffusion of innovation was particularly interesting, especially in light of ministry and non profit work. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
PS. If you would like to receive an advance copy (once released) of my new eBook on living the life you were called to live, you can sign up below to my newsletter. I focus a lot on achieving clarity on your own driving purpose in life and how to execute and live the life you’ve always wanted.