One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that the best leaders know how to close the sale – they are able to move people to action. It seems like the “action” is almost always preceded by a call to action. How good are you at this critical part of leadership?
Truthfully, I’ve given this topic far too little thought throughout my career. But now that it’s on my radar, I want to encourage you to join me in thinking about how to do this well. If we don’t get better at this, our leadership impact will be limited significantly.
When you and I have cast the vision, what can we do to help people overcome the inertia that naturally exists when a change is called for? Here are seven ideas that may help.
Be clear – How is the call to action linked to the vision? Help people see how their actions affect the vision. Be sure people know: progress is always preceded by change… and action.
Be Specific – What exactly are you asking people to do? Don’t make them guess. If you want them to do something, tell them. If there are options, spell them out. Help people identify their next step.
Be Honest – Be sure people hear you talk about both the upside and the challenges associated with what you’re asking them to do. If there are personal sacrifices called for, tell them.
Be an Example – Have you personally bought the vision? Are you willing to do the hard work of change in your life? Are you “DOING” what you’re selling? Don’t ask people to do something you are not willing to do yourself.
Be Passionate – You can’t expect people to be more passionate for the cause than you are. Passion is contagious. An impassioned call to action generates energy, enthusiasm and action.
Be Consistent – You will probably have to communicate the vision and the desired actions numerous times in a variety of formats to help people get it. Be sure your call to action is consistent. Strategic repetition will be your friend in moving people to action.
Be Trustworthy – There is an element of trust required any time a leader asks people to take action. Can your people trust you? If not, you’ll probably need to start here. Without some level of trust, even the most articulate call to action will fail to move people.
Think about how often you’re trying to move people to action. I’m guessing you invest a tremendous amount of time on this one activity. You may want to use the previous list to conduct a self-audit. What would you have to do differently to get YOU to follow you?