How Innovative Leaders Create Sustainable Inspiration
The Result of Sustainable Inspiration is Having More “Best Days”
The way people work and interact while working is rapidly changing. What companies and leaders will need to know, do, and create to succeed is different daily. The future of work will be dependent upon building and sustaining an inspired organization, as well as providing innovative continuing education for the entire workforce. This is a lofty goal, but it can be accomplished, the end result is what we call Sustainable Inspiration.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
In order to effect change within an organization and drive employees to give their all and be at their best throughout the culture of change, people need to feel heard and understood. A few ways to implement this throughout your organization are to:
- flatten hierarchy
- increase employee diversity across generations, educations, and cultures
- motivate employees with inclusion as well as financial incentives.
Many organizations have systems and expectations in place – practices like annual performance reviews that focus on weaknesses; cultures that suppress candid, in-the-moment feedback and dialog; and teams with insufficient methods to fully integrate remote workers – that no longer support what individuals and organizations need. As a result, leaders need to rethink how they lead in today’s world. As the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s book says, what got you here won’t get you there.
You may ask, what will get you there when the tactics you’ve used for years no longer work? What can an inspired leader to create a workforce that thrives? The answer lies in creating a culture of inspiration and spreading it throughout the organization.
What is a Culture of Inspiration
To create inspiration, one has to understand what it is. At InspireCorps, we’re in the business of inspiration, through original research we’ve conducted combined with the work we have done with clients over the years we have cultivated an understanding of certain truths about inspiration that inform on how to engineer this often-elusive driver of greatness.
Inspiration is not, as it is often portrayed, an unexpected, fleeting visitor. It is a force we have the power to attract and control.
Traditionally, inspiration is defined as an experience that happens to us – where a situation, event, or person sparks new possibilities, capabilities and action.
The Latin roots of the word inspiration mean, literally, “to breath in” or “take a breath” – a powerful gasp that infuses new life and excitement to the focus at hand. The experience happens fast; one is overcome with a burst of positive energy – like a spark. That burst of energy includes both greater possibility and a sense of invincibility.
Leaders who make inspiration happen – both by designing the right set of tools, systems and environments that will inspire employees and by encouraging employees to inspire themselves- will stay ahead of the pace of change.
Inspired employees take charge of their own motivation and their own success. They invest more of themselves in their contributions to the organization, they are more strategic and innovative thinkers and they are more resilient and less vulnerable to burn out. Perhaps most importantly, inspired employees aspire to higher goals for themselves and for the organization they feel a part of.
The Spark of Inspiration
When we feel that there is possibility, our thinking extends beyond what we can see and what has been known to work in the past. Our minds are introduced to a new, expanded capacity to visualize, create, analyze, and foresee new opportunities. It’s an exhilarating feeling.
Some may consider “invincibility” to be an abandonment of all common sense and regard for safety, but it’s not. Instead, when invincibility is combined with inspiration, it operates as a heightened confidence that leads one to take action in responsible but bold ways to achieve a goal.
Specifically, we define the initial moment of inspiration – the spark – as the intersection of possibility and invincibility.
For many the initial spark dissipates over time, especially when they consider how difficult it will be to maintain this new way of thinking and achieve their objectives. Others may think of inspiration as something they cannot control or create; they sit and wait for it to find them instead of going out and seeking new opportunities.
What we know at InspireCorps is that once people know the kinds of situations and people that create sparks of inspiration, they can see possibility where others don’t. They pursue opportunities that change the trajectory of their careers and the organizations they represent. Once they understand how to harness the power of inspiration, inspiration happens more frequently, shows up in new or different ways, and becomes contagious within the company.
Creating Sustainable Inspiration
Sustainable inspiration combines the ecstatic feelings of invincibility and possibility with deliberate practice. Ongoing, carefully designed practice cultivates a habit of inspiration. Like a muscle you work at the gym, access to, and regeneration of, inspiration gets stronger and easier the more you exercise it. When you practice sustainable inspiration, you shape yourself in new ways. Just as the bodies of athletes perform differently than less fit ones, individuals practicing sustainable inspiration are qualitatively different from those that are uninspired.
Like an athlete, we can similarly train ourselves to experience and sustain inspiration more often. The more inspiration is exercised, the easier the sparks come, the longer the flame shines, and the more frequently they occur. We notice how we feel when we feel inspired, and when we don’t. We start to crave inspiration and strive to have more of it in our lives.
What would deliberate practice of inspiration look like in your organization? Can you visualize leaders in your organization igniting and sustaining inspiration in themselves and those around them. What would it feel like to recognize that spark and be inspired yourself? How might it feel to take inspired action using cutting-edge tools and resources, and having established accountability partners to help spread the inspiration? What are the possibilities and what impact might contagious inspiration have on you, your day, the workforce, and the entire organization? Imagine a future where every single individual, from employees to the C-suite feel inspired to make a positive impact within the organization every day. What can be achieved through collaboration and inspiration?
At InspireCorps we call on, and support, organizations to embrace sustainable inspiration to not only keep up with, but surpass, the demands of today’s environment. We have refined a set of specific practices that reliably ignite sparks of inspiration as well as deliberate practice structures that sustain the spark of inspiration.
When leaders bring it all together at the individual, team, and org. levels, inspiration can improve performance and the bottom line exponentially.
Are you up for a challenge?
· We challenge you to lead through inspiration.
· We challenge you to build epic teams through inspiration.
· We challenge you to reinvent your world of work through inspiration.
· We challenge you to break through and have your best days more often.
Let us know by commenting below or sharing your stories of inspiration on our Facebook Page.