Advice to CEO’s
As a CEO, you have a challenging job.
You carry an awesome level of responsibility.
You have to balance vision and reality across a diverse spectrum of activities and people.
You have to make sure everything your business does leads to a profitable outcome.
Most important, you have to lead your products, processes and people toward that outcome.
Translating leadership vision into organizational action isn’t easy.
You know where you want your business to be, but it isn’t easy getting other people to see what you envision, to feel your passion, or to be as deliberate and focused in their pursuit as your are.
But remember, given who they are, what they know and what concerns them, your personal vision — as you would articulate it — is distant, hard to understand and not something that truly matters to them.
Its current intent, language and meaning isn’t enough to get people to change what they do, what they believe and why they will help you reach your vision.
You need to step back, think about what matters to employees today, and translate your vision into ideas, attitudes, actions and gestures that touch people in emotionally meaningful ways.
That is, you need to translate your vision into an idea (purpose), and a way of being (culture), that resonates with the people who will make it all happen: your employees.
The ideal idea is a Purpose Beyond Profit. Think of this as a way that your business helps make the world a better place. It embraces a universal truth that everyone involved can understand, appreciate and internalize. It is an idea which employees can use to validate to themselves, and others, that their work truly matters. It’s an idea which inspires them to become more focused, more collaborative, more innovative and more productive, because they feel like helping you realize this ambition.
The ideal way of being is a culture based on meaningful behavior, that deepens the way people feel about the company.
This is a more meaningful way of being which makes every interaction between the company and people more emotionally gratifying. This is a way of being — a behavior — that creates harmony, shared purpose, common values and workplace pride. It’s a way of making people outside your business (customers, partners, suppliers, investors, etc.), see your company with greater respect and admiration. This way of being creates powerful feelings that spur people to help your business reach its vision.
Now you’re ready to write a letter that matters
Simply telling people your vision isn’t enough these days.
You need to put your vision in the context of your employee’s needs, desires and aspirations, all of which are evolving radically in this, The Age of Meaning.
A letter which recasts your personal vision as a meaningful ambition for the company and its employees, together with a set of actions that make clear what each individual employee can do to help, will take your business closer and closer to your vision.
Suddenly, your vision will truly matter to people.
Suddenly, people will actively work to help achieve your vision.
Suddenly, people will embrace and love you, for your inspired leadership.