You walk into class and take your seat in a large lecture hall. It’s only the second week of law school and your senses remain on heightened alert. You’ve been warned about this particular class. The professor is known as tough. He sees his role as weeding out the students who are smart but cannot make it in the courtroom. Fail his class and you’re out.
Perhaps even more importantly, he runs the class like a courtroom. He will question you as if you were an attorney fighting for your client’s life. You watched what he did to one student in the last class, reducing the student to an emotional mess.
You’re determined not to show weakness. You’ve prepared and studied like never before.
Whether you want to motivate yourself or others, there are motivators at the core of every action. Knowing what is driving you and others is critically important.
Recently, I saw Greg McEvilly’s talk on motivation. Greg suggests that fear and love are the twin drivers of most actions. Greg is the CEO of KAMMOK, a company that sells outdoor equipment specializing in hammocks. In graduate school, he began to ask questions about motivation and behavior. Why is it that people behave the way they do? Even more important, Greg studied his own actions and thought about the definition of the words love and fear.
A heart-led leader serves others. They epitomize servant leadership. They are humble. They are genuine and sincere. They are transparent and vulnerable. They measure success not just on spreadsheets but on the amount of impact they (and their organizations) have on others. They believe love and results are two sides of the same coin.
Why do heart-led leaders produce better results?
For years we looked at servant leadership as a worthy leadership style that is beneficial to organizational culture but not necessarily tied to bottom-line results. Heart-Led Leaders are obsessed with achieving bottom-line results. But they also believe that love and results are two sides of the same coin. They believe that if they love what they do and who they do it for, it is hard not to produce extraordinary results.
Are you born a heart-led leader or are you able to acquire the characteristics over time?
This is a century old argument – are leaders born or are they made? I have always believed that although we may be born with certain characteristics and qualities, true heart-led leadership is a learned trait – just as one would learn how to ride a bike. If one chooses to become a heart-led leader, he or she can become one. But the 18-Inch Journey to become a Heart-Led Leader is a difficult one.
“Heart-led leaders have the self awareness to understand who they are.” -Tommy Spaulding
You make the point that there are 18 inches between the head and the heart, and then provide 18 leadership principles to support the difference. Would you talk about one or two of these that stand out and why they are so important?
The Heart Led Leader
I believe the journey to heart-led leadership is the 18-inches between your head and your heart. In my book, The Heart-Led Leader, I list 18 traits that I believe one must possess to become a heart-led leader—traits such a humility, passion, love, authenticity and vulnerability, etc. I think 21st century leaders must possess these qualities to be truly successful – to create impact, change and bottom-line results.
As an Eagle Scout myself, I was pulled into your personal example about when you wanted to be named Outstanding Scout. Would you share that story and what you learned about character?
Character is one of the 18-inches (traits) of heart-led leadership. I first learned of the importance of character at Boy Scout camp when I was a kid. The scout masters chose one scout at the end of summer camp that was awarded the “Most Outstanding Scout” award. It was the highest honor given to the one scout who demonstrated great leadership qualities. I wanted to win this award more than anything. That week during scout camp I worked harder than any of the other scouts. I got up early. I volunteered for everything. I earned more merit badges, and did whatever the scout masters asked of me.
At the end of the scout camp we had a huge camp fire celebration. And at the end of the evening the scout masters awarded the “Most Outstanding Scout” award. I was certain that I would win the award. I nearly started to stand up before they announced my name.
Recently, I was visiting Nashville and met Jimmy at an event to raise money for the Salvation Army.
Saved By Love
Do you know how this country music star got his first guitar? If you have participated in the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, you will have the answer. That anonymous gift was the beginning of a musical journey. Each year children in need fill out angel tags containing gift wishes and place them on a tree. Jimmy received his first guitar through this program. You can make a dream come true by helping others through the Salvation Army’s program.
After reading his compelling story and speaking with him, I thought about 7 lessons Jimmy Wayne taught me about giving and sharing.
Jimmy taught me to:
1. Give the gift of encouragement.
As a homeless teenager, Jimmy befriended an elderly couple, who took him in. When he speaks of this couple, and the words of love and appreciation they expressed to him, you will be reminded of the power of encouragement. Contrast that to the words spoken by a prison guard; words that, to this day, still seem to haunt him.
Use every opportunity to encourage others with words of love and appreciation.
When I pick up one of Jon Gordon’s books, I have high expectations. I expect to be entertained, moved, and motivated to think differently and take action. That’s not an easy accomplishment for any book.
“Your optimism today will determine your level of success tomorrow.” –Jon Gordon
Jon,The Carpenter’ssubtitle is A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All. Let’s talk about a few of these strategies.
The 3 greatest of them all are:
I go into more detail in the book of why they are so powerful, but after studying the most successful people and organizations, I found they truly loved the work they did, and they did everything with love instead of fear. The love they had for their product, people and passion was greater than their fear of failing. They loved their work so much that they overcome their challenges to build something great. They loved their people, so they invested in them and helped them achieve great results. They also cared about everyone and everything. They put in a little more time with a little more energy with a little more effort with a little more focus, and this produced big results. They also served and sacrificed.
Only through service and sacrifice can you become great. When you serve others, you become great in their eyes. We know when someone is out for themselves and when they are here to serve others. You can’t be a great leader if all you are serving is yourself.
“Only through service and sacrifice can you become great.” –Jon Gordon
You talk about the importance of rest. Most of us are so busy achieving, setting goals, and driving that we have learned to smile and nod in response to hearing “get some more rest.” My subconscious often responds with, “I will rest when I’m dead.” Why is rest so important? What made you decide to start with it as a success strategy?
I’ve noticed that the enemies of great leadership, teamwork, relationships and customer service are busyness and stress. Our lives have become so crazy that we are continually activating the reptilian part of our brain and the fight-flight response. So without knowing it, we are living and working from a place of fear where we are just trying to survive instead of thrive.
When we rest and recharge, we can think more clearly and live and work more powerfully. For example, instead of running people over because you are so busy, you can take time to build relationships with your team and customers and create more success in the long term. Instead of just trying to get through the day, you can live and work more intentionally thinking about who needs your time and energy to develop and grow. Instead of rushing through conversations with customers, you can take more time to listen and solve their problems. Every great athlete must rest and recharge and so must we to perform at our highest level.
“Anyone who attempts to build great things will face challenges.” –Jon Gordon
This is a guest post by Brian Sheehan. Brian is Associate Professor of Advertising at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Previously he was with global creative powerhouse Saatchi & Saatchi, with CEO roles at Team One Advertising and at Saatchi & Saatchi Australia and Japan. Brian is the author of Loveworks: How the world’s top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace (powerHouse Books).
No matter how much we think we have grasped it, love remains full of surprises. Most of us would say that we know what love feels like, but try to get people to explain what makes love happen (and how to keep it alive!), and you’ll find that that there are no guaranteed solutions. If we take our understanding of interpersonal love and apply it to brand love, the needs of the relationship share some similar characteristics.
So I hear you ask, how do I know if my brand has reached Lovemark status? Here’s a fast way to do it. Though Love tends to dominate conversations about Lovemarks, people forget about its non-negotiable partner, Respect. Without Respect, a brand can never be a Lovemark. It’s impossible to love something that you can’t trust or rely on.
It’s impossible to love something that you can’t trust or rely on. -Brian Sheehan
Does your brand perform best in class each and every time?
Does your brand stand for things your customers believe in and admire?
Is your brand good value for the experience it offers?
If you answer “no” to any one of those questions, you need to focus on building Respect before you get ahead of yourself. If you answered “yes” to all the questions, you can move on to thinking about building Love. Look at the questions below and see where you rate strongly and how your brand may need work. Love can get stronger — and weaker. Your job is to ensure that the hearts of your consumers only get bigger for your brand.
Mystery stimulates excitement, surprise and wonder. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. To have Mystery, a brand needs to take on the role of storyteller: draw on its past, present and future; and also inspire people to dream.
Do people share positive stories about your brand?
Is your brand recognizable through an icon, logo, symbol or mythic character?
Do people feel inspired by your brand?
Sensuality involves interacting with our senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste are direct connections to our emotions, and brands that have strong connections with their consumers provide distinct sensory experiences.
Your job is to ensure that the hearts of your consumers only get bigger for your brand. Brian Sheehan