20 November 2022 |

Avoid this common Leadership Mistake


Business leaders like to obsess over the decisions made by billionaires.

Some assume they are perfect and look to imitate their every move. Others look to criticize their every move.

Regardless of your opinion of billionaires, when decisions are made in public we have the opportunity to observe the impact and learn important lessons.

Right now, Elon Musk is causing chaos inside Twitter.

There are lots of decisions being made (and a million opinions being shared about the decisions), but let’s look at one critical error being made as Twitter changes direction—an error a lot of business leaders make.

He didn’t lead with his vision.

Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”

Simon Sinek says, “Start with Why.”

The message is the same. People aren’t inspired to commit to a project unless they understand the bigger picture they are part of.

People want to feel like they are on a winning team, but winning is only possible by first defining the goal.

This Tweet by a former Twitter employee is a perfect example of what happens when we skip the WHY.

Read his full thread here.

Let’s look at the data behind the impact of having a clear vision:

  • 50% of employees are unclear about the direction of the business,
  • 42% of Gen Z workers would even take a pay cut if it meant working a job that makes a difference in the world
  • 84% of employees say that they don’t get enough information from their leaders
  • Only 40% of employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for and what makes their brand different from other companies. 

When people know where the company is going, they are more likely to be engaged and productive.

A big part of your role as a leader is keeping people focused. You need to create systems that will remind your team what they should be focused on and why their work is meaningful. They will forget unless you remind them.

Three questions you should ask yourself:

  • Where do I see this organization in 5 years?
  • What role does my team play in creating this future?
  • How often do I talk about our shared vision for the future?

Inspirational leaders consistently reinforce how the actions of today will create change and a better tomorrow. Your team meetings, one-on-ones, and company emails are all opportunities to remind your team why their work is important.

Three quick tips to help you create a shared vision:

  1. Spend time listening to your team and understanding what is important to them. When you understand their strengths, needs, and values, it will be easier for you to connect with them and gain their trust and commitment.
  2. Talk about small wins often. Momentum leads to big wins and is created by recognizing small wins. Your message to your team should be, “What we are doing is working. Let’s keep it going.”
  3. Get comfortable with being repetitive. Having a team who predicts you will talk about the vision every time you meet is a much better problem than having a team who doesn’t know the purpose of their work.

It’s your job to make sure everyone on your team knows the vision, mission, and values of the company—and how their specific role helps move the company forward.

What did I miss? I’d love to hear from you.