How to inspire others to change the game

It is over a decade ago and I am joining about sixteen hundred people to give former US President Bill Clinton a standing ovation. He has just delivered a spine tingling speech at the World IT Congress in Australia about the role technology could play in the developing world.

It’s a big deal to get a standing ovation from an Australian audience. I had gone to the event somewhat sceptically. Yet to my surprise, he understood and shared our passion for the difference that technology could make. He put himself in our shoes and tapped into our commitment to build a better world. He inspired us to see that it was possible.

Zenger Folkman research with 14,500 leaders confirms that being “inspiring and motivating” is the single most important leadership competency. It is also the leadership competency on which leaders overall receive the lowest scores from their manager, peers and those who report to them.

So what is the secret to being an inspiring leader who can motivate others to change the game? We can’t all be as charismatic as Bill Clinton or leaders like him?

But what can we learn from the great examples that we have seen?

One thing seems to be clear and that is that the value of listening.

Bill Clinton was ‘listening’ even though he appeared to be just speaking. He had obviously spent time preparing for the presentation. He was listening, in the sense of understanding what would motivate us to come along with him.

On the other hand, how many times have we been underwhelmed by the latest corporate strategy or vision. What’s missing that we are not inspired? Well one thing that could be missing is ‘listening.’ Listening for what’s in it for the audience to buy into the strategy or vision.

Having a game-changing vision is inspiring, no doubt about it. But inspiring others to take on your vision as though it is theirs requires the ability to see the world through their eyes.

How could you listen to others around you and inspire and motivate them to share your vision and change the game?

Best regards, Brian