We measure achievement by the numbers. In almost every facet of life achievement is measured numerically. It starts in school … a 91 on an algebra test … a 1775 SAT score … then at work an 11% increase in sales, a 40% market share … and in sports, a 12-2 football season !
In all facets of life, we have to make the numbers. It has always been so and we all, in a way, live and die by whether or not we hit them, right? But, over the years I’ve learned that there’s a fundamental truth … there’s more behind the numbers than meets the eye at first glance, and we can easily miss the point of ‘making our numbers’ if we fail to see and understand them for what they are and how dealing with them correctly impacts almost everything. So, when success occurs in the marketplace or winning the championship at the conclusion of the season, we know that behind the victory numbers there are individuals and teams who were inspired by some leader or coach and engaged beyond simply “going through the motions”. In fact, all the evidence says excellence in any endeavor only occurs from those of us who are inspired … so that’s the heart part.
Regardless of the label we give it … winning, success, achievement … it’s all the result of an inspired effort. And the recipe for inspiration is the same today as it was 100 and 1000 years ago. In fact, over the course of history the world has changed but human desires have not … thus, and here’s the best part … the ingredients for human inspiration tomorrow will be identical to the achievements of the past.
It is inspiration that leads to greatness. It always has and it always will.
To inspire … on the surface sounds kind of intimidating … undefinable … illusive … doesn’t it? But if you want to hit the numbers, you have to fully understand the part that inspiration plays in making it happen. And, you have to understand OUR part in making it happen. And, it helps to also understand that this kind of inspiration is NOT happening for 70% of workers today, with all the ramifications of that for the workers themselves and for those who employ them.
So what causes people to do inspired work each day?
As I write this, it instantly occurred to me that the 70% figure (number, get it?) Is the 30,000 foot aggregate reading from Gallup’s engagement assessments? My instant “aha” is that the remedy for uninspired workplaces is not the typical regimen of bonuses, perks and rewards.
The questions that all of us contemplate given our daily tasks, is “is it worth it?” and “can I do it?”. How we feel about those questions determines the degree of our commitment (engagement). So how do the employees of classic high performance organizations such as Disney, Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Starbucks answer those questions? The “worth it?” component is answered because these organizations have clear and noble causes. The “do it?” question is answered by those organizations who train attitudes and skills to accomplish their noble convictions.
Once both of those questions are answered, the outcome is an Inspired Bottom Line.