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Inside-Out Leadership
By Barton Goldsmith

Los Angeles Business Journal, 28/05/01

At the core of "inside-out" leadership are building blocks used by some of America’s best run and most successful companies. They include helping people get connected to their purpose and passion, sharing the CEO’s vision and plan with all personnel, creating a company culture that supports personal growth, maintaining a fun work environment and helping people feel good about the company for which they work.

Passion & Purpose
Management executives with real leadership skills lead from their core, from the center of who they really are. This happens when they are connected to their passion and purpose. Passion is that force that gets you up earlier in the morning than everyone else and keeps you at your office longer than your loved ones would like. Purpose is the reason, beyond money, that compels people to succeed.

Now ask yourself, if I’m functioning from that space, how do I help my people connect their passion and purpose to the company? Are we in sync? When leaders connect with their staff’s passion and purpose, they create a reconnection to the company’s driving force - its people.

Sharing the Vision

Staff will find it easier to connect with top executives and the company, if the people at the helm are visionary leaders - people who have a dream, a plan to achieve it and then share that information with others. It’s not enough for the vision to be in one’s head. People can’t participate in the vision unless leaders relentlessly share it with them. The best way to accomplish that is to follow three simple steps: propose the vision, print it and post it. First passionately explain your vision to your executive team. They have to be on board for this to work. Make them understand this is a "company" vision, not just your vision. Next, print your vision on cards and posters that you can hand out and display thorough out the company. This will introduce the new culture in a non-threatening way. Restate the company vision as often as possible at meetings, dinners and special events. Sharing the company vision results in a rededication of the company’s second driving force - its leader.

Growth & Purpose
Personal growth is the third building block of inside-out leadership. In businesses where continuous improvement (Kaizen) is a core value, team members reach deep within themselves to create a better company and work environment. What are you doing to promote career development and personal growth in your business? Remember, profitability is not just for shareholders. It also directly affects team members and the company as a whole. Part of personal growth can be found in "purposeful" work. In companies where people know they are making a difference in the world, the productivity is high, and turnover is very low. Find the purposeful work in your company, and make it part of your vision.

Additionally establish a close working relationship with committed co-workers. This is highly motivating for management and staff alike. Commitment to the team spirit should be on the balance sheet as it directly effects the bottom-line. How are you creating empowered teams and getting the whole person to show up? Do you offer business effectiveness or personal management skills training? What about workshops on finances, relationships or health topics? For example, once a month bring in a financial consultant from one of the brokerage houses to speak about money issues - how it grows, how to invest it, how much they need to retire, etc. Your people benefit because they learn about money and will be able to keep more of what they earn. The company benefits because when people understand money, they’ll manage corporate resources better. This type of activity promotes personal and professional growth and satisfaction.

Have Fun & Increase Profit

A playful work environment is essential to inside-out leadership. Take a look at the core values of one of the best-run companies in the world, Southwest Airlines. In order to work at Southwest Airlines, team members must have a sense of humor and the ability to have fun. These qualifications are an integral part of job descriptions. CEO, Herb K. knows that happy team members create happy customers. It’s a "no-brainer". In companies where people are having fun, the productivity is higher, and so it the profit.

Motivate Your Internal Customers

How do you keep your staff motivated and feeling like they’re part of the team? For starters, use a customer satisfaction survey to measure your staff’s (your internal customers) satisfaction and expectations of the workplace. Then compare the company’s results with those from Fortune Magazine’s list of "Top 100 Companies to Work For." In order for your team to provide quality service, they need to feel good about the work they are doing and company they work for.

A Game Plan
Combined, the Inside-Out tools can create an awesome company. Try to integrate one of these ideas per month, and within six months, you can create a new culture in your business. The motivation derived from this transition will increase profitability, staff retention and the joy of being in business. The essence here is to remember to lead from your core, from deep within. That is where the real power is.


Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., has started, grown and sold 3 companies. He is a highly sought after keynote speaker, business consultant, and author, who presents to numerous companies, associations and leaders worldwide. He works regularly with The Young President’s Organization (YPO), The Executive Committee (TEC) and The Council of Growing Companies. Dr. Goldsmith writes for the Los Angeles Business Journal, and is a contributing author to over 70 business publications and trade journals. He can be contacted through his web site at: www.BartonGoldsmith.com or at (818) 879-9996









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