The most important component to creating a successful company culture is mastering the art of influence…not data.
When CEOs, teachers, office managers, politicians, parents, religious leaders or anyone in a position of power lack influence, it means they don't possess the gifts and tools needed for inspiring positive action and empowering others to bring about a desired outcome for the greater good.
One way of dealing with this shortcoming is to change policies and procedures, and then hope for the best. You're still left with ineffective leadership. Ineffective leadership kills any passion or purpose that people feel towards completing any task or endeavor.
That is essentially what's happening over at Yahoo. The New York Times article "Yahoo Orders Home Workers Back to the Office" explains how the chief executive officer, Marissa Mayer, is requiring all stay-at-home workers to now report to the office. She used data obtained from Yahoo's Virtual Private Network to see how often employees were checking in: How Marissa Mayer Figured Out Work-At-Home Yahoos Were Slacking Off.
Although data may be helpful in discovering the number of times employees log in, it still does not address the issue of why they weren't logging in and working more in the first place.
The National Court Reporters Association is also having a similar problem with influence, except it's not with employees. It's with trying to recruit, retain and inspire its membership. Their primary focus should be in creating culture and community, empowering, informing, and enlightening its members to the current changes in our industry so its members can make more informed decisions. They should be finding ways to have a positive impact on the entire profession.
True power is defined by your sphere of influence. The more people you alienate, the less influential you are.
So now that Marissa Mayer has weeded out everyone who she feels is not good enough, what's next? The answer to that question can't be found in data. It's found in appealing to human nature, in promoting quality of life while advancing towards success. Now she needs to show inspiring leadership.
So what does it take to be an inspiring leader?
- Be Admirable: You're free to be a stoic tyrant, but you have to possess qualities people admire. People want someone they can look up to in order to justify their loyalty during times of upheaval and change.
- Have Respect for Others: This is a deal-breaker. If you don't treat people with respect, then they will hate you and, in some cases, try to bring you down. This is the one thing that destroys relationships more than anything else.
- Be Respectable: Respect is earned. By respecting others, you become respectable. You won't worry what others think of you, because you're always trying to do the right thing.
- Be Fair: Sometimes doing the right thing will hurt some people, but if it's fair, then people will respect your decision. If it isn't fair and you still have to make that decision, then compensate for the unfairness in some way.
- Listen: Sometimes people just want to be heard. Honor that desire and you'll be heard in return.
- Acknowledge: The best way to cultivate loyalty from those around you is to give them credit. You can't succeed without them, so let them know it.
- Communicate: Not knowing is the worst. Leaders who communicate are understood. Creating understanding adds meaning. People want meaning in their lives more than anything else.
- Execute Without Hesitation: Once you've made your decision, do it. No regrets. After you've learned the repercussions, then move forward.
- Admit When You Are Wrong: If you made a mistake, say you made a mistake. We can all learn from your mistakes if you admit to them first, and we'll respect you for it.
- Embrace Change: A lot of companies and organizations fail because they fear change. Change is inevitable. Don't let stubbornness be the cause of your demise.
The most influential people are inspiring leaders of change. They know how to turn things around after making a mistake, and they know how to make everyone else feel great about it. They communicate their purpose so that others can share in that purpose. They execute with passion that spreads. Influential people change the people around them and impact their lives for the better.