#52 Books – The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch:Inspire Self. Inspire Others. Inspire the World. (Amazon affiliate link)
“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it” Ernest Holmes
Lance Secretan argues that we are now seeing in our economy and our workspaces exactly what we have been thinking. And it’s not working.
“Our social and corporate cultures have developed into ones that brilliantly reward the metrics of performance while overlooking the measures of the heart, and this has caused an evaporation of inspiration.”
- Remember: we are down to only 15% employee engagement according to the recent Gallup study. This is down from the commonly cited 30%. And yet, the noise around “employee engagement” is going up.
- Yes, unemployment numbers are down to 4.1% as of the recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics report (February 2, 2018), but remember that Unemployment measures people actively looking for work and a few other scenarios. The people you say you want in your organization are going to work for themselves. The numbers do NOT include the 30% of people who are self-employed or who have teamed up with people to start a small business.
- Employee turnover is costing US companies over $15,000 PER EMPLOYEE. That’s just the financials – never mind the productivity and morale hits. And, typically, the employees that turn over are the ones most organizations don’t want to lose.
People want to be inspired.
Inspiration, Secretan argues, is a result of a leader who is clear about WHY they are here (Destiny), how they will BE while they are here (Character) and what they have been called to DO (Calling).
“There are two givens that we all share:
- Our passion is drawn to the things that excite us – positively and negatively
- At our core, we all yearn to serve and improve the world”
Inspiring others means serving others.
Motivating others, as Secretan defines it, means serving self.
Practically everything we talk about in business and education is about “motivating”.
How do I get others to do X?
Secretan wants us to look within first and get clear on your destiny, character, and calling. Then demonstrate that through your moment-to-moment interactions and consistent action.
He then moves out into the corporate environment and provides a few techniques for developing an inspirational vision for your organization.
For an inspirational vision to work, leaders need to prioritize employees, then customers, then shareholders (think Disney, Southwest Airlines, Nordstroms). Too many organizations, Secretan noted, focus on shareholders first, then customers, and then (maybe) employees.
Secretan wrote that well before the recent tax law changes. In multiple surveys and summits, the majority of CEOs planned to spend the money for stock buybacks and dividends or mergers and acquisitions. Investing in the company (capital spend) or its workers was not as high a priority.
We’re hitting a point in our economy where having your own company and being a shareholder (no matter how small) is more secure, less soul-sucking, and has a higher probability of financial remuneration than being an employee somewhere. This includes the risks involved in starting your own business.
The knowledge workers who these organizations need to grow and thrive in today’s environment are coming to that conclusion themselves. Many of them are pro-actively deciding to go independent. By 2020, more than 40% of US workers will be independent and that number will grow rapidly.
If you are in a leadership position, Secretan has provided a toolkit to help you staunch the bleeding of your best talent and become the leader that talent needs you to be.
It starts with you.