The first step to strategizing what kind of team you want to lead is deciding what kind of story you want for your organization. What stories will your customers tell their friends and family? What stories will your employees tell their friends and family? Your business’s success and profitability depend on the stories that get told. Take the time to develop a story that captivates and engages.
Here’s an example. I have spoken many times around the world about a disastrous experience I had on Lufthansa Airlines over ten years ago. There is even a video of me available on the Internet telling the story. Personally, Lufthansa has lost over $350,000 in business that they could have potentially got from my international travels because of this experience.
Conversely, British Airways is one of my all-time favorite airlines because of the emotional connection I have with them. Why? What is the STORY that makes me go out of my way to do business with them?
“Your story must encompass your values.” –Robert Murray
It was New Years 2010, my daughter, then 19 years old, flew back to Europe to see her school friends and celebrate New Years with them. She had a lot of fun – apparently too much fun because when she was returning home, she had to transfer to the last leg of her trip at Heathrow Airport. While she was waiting for her next flight, she fell asleep in a chair at the gate and missed repeated PA announcements calling her to board her flight.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Bob a few questions about a wide range of topics.
Cultivate Your Inner Leader
Bob, let’s start with the title.
It’s Already Insidegives us a glimpse into your philosophy. You believe that leadership is innate, that everyone has the DNA to lead. How did you develop your philosophy?
Good question. I believe that over the years we have evolved with many characteristics that have helped human beings become who we are (the good and the bad!). Buried in the soup we call our DNA are so many lessons that have enabled us to grow, innovate and thrive. Leadership is one of those traits. Some don’t know it or have had their confidence and competence squelched by the conditioning of their parents, teachers, coaches, society, etc.
Leadership is not always about being the loudest, most charismatic or the most extroverted in the room. Leadership comes in all shapes, sizes and conditions. There are the traditional leaders that we are used to seeing in business and society. However, there are many leaders that silently toil away in organizations and use their abilities to influence decisions—or those that bolt from the office at 5:00 and go into the community to lead scout groups, volunteer organizations or little league teams. They are moms and dads that lead their families, their neighborhood and the local school PTA.
Work Harder Than Anyone Else
Terry Fox is the famous one-legged runner who inspired millions. You grew up with him and watched his struggle against cancer and his response. Watching him taught you some powerful lessons. For those of us who only watched or read about him, give us an inside view of what he was like.
Terry was the most determined and dedicated person I have ever met. His energy was infectious, and he inspired everyone around him to be their best too. You just couldn’t help digging deeper and working harder from his influence.
A man who does not think and plan ahead will find trouble right at his door. -Confucius
We’re often temporarily moved and motivated when we hear a story like Terry’s. But, how do you take Terry’s incredible attitude and let it really grab you and change you for good? What’s your best advice on cultivating such a daily attitude?
What I learned from Terry is forever imbedded in me as the person and the leader I am today. However, on those dark and cold days when I wake up with the feeling of, “Oh crap, I just don’t have it in me today,” I think of how Terry dragged himself out of a warm bed every day at 4 in the morning and faced the fight head-on. Then I start moving and I get my head back into the game.
Terry was proof to me that everything in life that you truly want is gained through working harder than anyone else and having the discipline to stay on the road less traveled.