Today we want to share a very profound leadership principle!
Two weeks ago on our weekly Leadership Master Class on CliffCentral we discussed that the task of great leaders is to create a believable positive momentum.
Last week we discussed how to start this off with the “BIG leadership question” – one which leaders should ask themselves often.
The question is:
How can I help move this situation in a positive direction?
What these few words can do for a leader and his/her attitude is remarkable!
Take careful note the word “move”.
After 20 years of interviewing and working with leaders across different industries, we have discovered, and continue to rediscover that in essence, all leaders are in the business of movement! We use words like – improvement, betterment, growing, maximizing, change, and so on!
We are always asked what great leaders have in common. There are 7.2 billion people on this planet. They are all unique, different and complex. This is no different for leaders. Every one of them is unique, different and complex. They don’t necessarily have certain attributes in common. However, what they have in common, without exception is this: they take a situation that has been thrust upon them, or that they thrust upon themselves, from where it currently is to a better place in the future – they create movement!
Of course the trick is to create positive movement rather than negative movement.
Let’s discuss the essence of movement!
Life is about movement! If your heart stops beating, lungs collapse, you stop moving – you die! Movement = life! And we are saying: Leaders breathe life into situations. Movement = leadership! Whenever you move a situation and/or people, you lead.
So, if movement is the essence of life and leadership, it means at times in life we are all leaders, and it means our uncovering of the universal law of movement, is the most important truth you will ever learn. Do not underestimate the power if its simplicity, especially if you have heard it from us before! If your business is somehow not moving as fast, as profitably or as successfully as you need it to, it simply means this: You are not implementing the law of movement effectively enough or consciously enough, all the way through organizational structures! If a staff member is not performing or moving as he/she should, again, you as a leader are not assisting this person in successfully implementing this law! If your life is not moving forward as you believe it should, you are not implementing this law as you should. The same applies to whether you lead a school, small business, family, and in a relationship.
Now, the fact that you don’t consciously know what the law is, or what the universal process is that activates it, does not help either. If you know the law and don’t focus on it, learn to use it most effectively, you are your own worst enemy.
Now pay attention to this universal law which is as universal as the law of gravity:
All movement in life is governed (regulated) by the integration of only three things: motivation, direction and structure
This is not successful movement yet. All three of these elements must come together – not one or two, but all three!
Motivation = motive, reason, purpose, why? The energy needed for anything to move. But, if you don’t attach some direction to the motivation, it is useless.
Direction = plans, goals, north, east, south, west. Motivation cannot exist without direction! And motivation and direction without structure stands still!
Structure = organisation, facilities, resources, systems, procedures that give substance to motivations and directions.
Okay, let’s zoom in on this. Try to visualise any kind of movement without these three elements. I will assist you.
Driving to work: You have a motive (reason, purpose, why) that motivates you to follow some direction, probably in a structure you refer to as a car, taxi or Gautrain. You apply all three elements of the law. If you are motivated and know where you are going, but get into your car and it won’t start, you stand still. You need the car (structure) to trigger the actual movement.
When you arrive at work you get out of the car, driven by the same motivation and direction, but then the structure changes to your body, legs, lift, and so on i.e. walking
Even the flying bird applies the universal law of movement. It has some motive in its head, it flies in some direction and it uses its wings, feathers and wind patterns as structure.
If a staff member is not performing/moving, it is either because he isn’t motivated enough – or his/her direction is not understood, or he/she doesn’t have the needed structure – or all three.
If our country isn’t moving as it should, when all is said and done, the reasons for it are either on a motivational, directional or structural level.
The order of this law is very important – the moment when you get the order wrong your trouble starts.
Motivation comes first – this is often the people side, but not always; direction second and structure third – structure serves direction and motivation – e.g. the desk in your office – is it a motivation, direction or structure? A structure of course. Do you serve it, or does it serve you? The latter of course. Is your car a motivation, direction or structure? Also a structure. It should also serve your motivations and directions in life. We can ask the same about money.
In business we often turn the law on its head – we start serving structure – systems, procedures, meetings – beaurocracy. In our own lives we sometimes fail to place motivation first – the why, purpose of why we get up every day becomes mundane, unclear!
Few leaders are good at all three – which is why you have a team. But, knowing the law can assist you to consciously grow in all three.
Where does your strength lie? Are you able to connect with peoples motivations? Are you directional – know the answers because of experience. Can you manage the structures – managerial? Just remember movement is non-negotiable! So you have to make all three work well.
We challenge you to ponder this law. Think where your strengths are. Build a team that makes up for your weaknesses. Bring the word movement into your vocabulary every day. Create a believable positive momentum by asking: How can I help move the situation in a positive direction?
Do you recognise some areas in yourself as a leader or areas in your team that need improvement?
Contact Adriaan Groenewald for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside you as a leader and your organisation.
Adriaan Groenewald is an Authentic Leadership Activist
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