“If we want a feeling of meaning in life, I don't think we have a choice but to live a good story -- that is, to propel ourselves into some noble adventure, enduring difficult conflict for a cause greater than ourselves so we can see a tension resolve for the betterment of the people around us, for our families and our friends and for strangers less fortunate, thus setting a moral compass for everybody watching our stories, giving them the inspiration to lead a better life themselves.” 

- Donald Miller

Michael Mankins, a partner with Bain & Company, is a productivity expert.  He utilizes proprietary research, the best academic studies from places like Harvard, and their own anecdotal evidence from their client base.  Some of the things he summarized in a recent article are powerfully illuminating.

He says that super successful companies are not succeeding due to a higher percentage of high-performers.  They actually hire a comparable number based on the studies that measure that sort of thing.  Mankins says they win by reducing institutional drag.

One tactic they employ is to make sure they stack talent in every mission critical area.  They work to inspire collaboration and productivity wins by tying compensation to group results instead of individual results.  Solve the most mission critical tasks and others seem to domino comfortably in their wake.

Mankins' recent book focuses on three key areas: time, talent, & energy.  One of the elements he focuses on that tends to affect all three of those is "inspiration." His research states:

An engaged worker is 44% more productive than a satisfied worker.

An inspired worker is nearly 125% more productive than a satisfied one.

125 percent!!!

There has been a tremendous amount of energy spent on the topic of employee engagement, but very little focus on employee inspiration.  Interestingly enough, Mankins believes that inspiring leaders are taught not born.

So do we.

This is one of those areas where the fish really does stink from the head.  While we are working on leadership transitions all over the city (one generation to the next, owner to leader, single leader to leadership team), we coach that culture must be embodied and led from the top. 

Culture cannot be outsourced. 

While day-to-day responsibilities may be transferred, the ownership of culture, one of the building blocks of inspiration, must be maintained at the top.

If you want the kind of inspired leaders who realize those kinds of productivity gains Mankins articulates...

Inspire them.

Articulate powerful values that represent the best of what you are.

Craft a powerful purpose statement that is about changing lives.

Inspire a transcendent vision of your future state.

Create a powerful strategic plan to realize that inspired future.

Watch leaders and their teams get swept up in the art of the possible.

We get to largely choose how inspiring our story is in our personal and professional lives.  We get the opportunity to live lives that inspire and invite others to do the same.

We always say that leadership clarity leads to organizational clarity.  (That is why we we are such a big fan of Lifeplan.)  I would also say that leadership inspiration leads to organizational inspiration.  (That is why we love coaching leaders and their teams.)

Inspiration is our responsibility.  With the unbelievable benefits realized as a result, why would you focus your time, energy, and resources on anything else?

  • Are you living a life that inspires others?
  • Does the family, organization, or company you lead inspire others?
  • Are the children and employees you lead inspiring others?
  • What must you do next in order to live a more inspired life and encourage others to do the same?