Not long ago, money and the bottom line were the most important considerations. Today, business leaders must have a vision, tell a story, and offer value in order to inspire their employees. Nili Goldfein, CEO NGG Global Learning Solutions, believes that leaders who want the members of their organization to believe in them and become more engaged, must know how to tell the story
Employees will follow leaders with a vision. And making lots of money isn’t considered a vision…
In the early 2000s, when startup companies started springing up like mushrooms after the rain and began to raise funds from angels and venture capital funds, all startup founders carried around a thick binder that they presented to all investors at the road show table. The binder contained endless rows of numbers that supported the company’s multi-year plan until its exit – the moment when the founders and investors finally see the big bucks.
Today, investors all over the world, angels and venture capital funds are more interested in the company’s added value, beyond monetary value. They want to hear the company’s story. They want to learn about the product or service and how it benefits humanity. Yes, you heard correctly – all of humanity, no less. When startup founders begin to plan their road show, they must formulate their story for themselves and for others. What is their mission? What makes them unique? What is their added value? Investors are willing to put money on a story; on something genuine that touches their heart. They believe that value is what will eventually bring in the money.
When the story and value are in the spotlight, that is exactly what draws employees as well. This may be the anti-thesis to the obsession with money, deception and cynicism that were so characteristic of the “capitalist pig” that resulted in the crash in 2008. People want to be inspired by their leaders. They seek something pure, important and great.
They desperately want to follow someone who inspires them. They want to believe that they are part of something bigger and better. They want to make the world a better place for future generations. The millennials talk much more than we do. They talk about the climate, the state of the dolphins and pollution. They talk about social equality and equal rights, about values and doing good.
In less than five years, the millennials will be the majority of the workforce. They have not invented anything new. They are re-igniting something very fundamental in diverse, human society. People have always been inspired by their leaders. Some have murdered, destroyed and tortured in the name of a leader and a vision, or in the name of God, religion or conquering the promised land. But they were following something larger than themselves. Something that excited them. Something that was much bigger than the individual.
A tip for business leaders: Leaders who want people to follow them and to increase their engagement must learn how to tell the story. They must share their vision and inspire. They must offer something that will feel right to the people that are there; something more meaningful than financial success, the stock market or sales. People are motivated (or not) through their hearts, not through their minds. They are motivated by emotion, not logic. Learn how to best tell the story of your organization. Don’t be afraid of sounding melodramatic and don’t be afraid to reach for the stars.