When you search the web for an image representing a big idea, you get a lot of pictures of light bulbs. Why is that? Was the light bulb the last big idea? Is it the only symbol of transformative technology? What is it about the light bulb that makes it the perfect image for the big idea?
My conclusion is this: the big idea energizes the people and the enterprise. Without energy, people flounder or even slide backwards. The big idea provides the inspiring and motivating idea for the team to pursue. Without a daring aspiration, the organization has no focus or purpose.
As the leader of any team, big or small, your role is to energize the people with a bold, daring aspiration.
We know this in our gut. We know that the soccer team is energized by the idea of winning the division trophy. We know that our children are energized by the chance to be actors or actresses in the school play. We know that a work project team is energized by the idea of finding a breakthrough solution to a problem. We know that an innovation team is energized by creating something new.
I often say, I want go big or go home.
On this point, I don’t think I’m the only one. I think the people that we lead also want to work on something big, challenging, and daring. Think about these five ways teams come alive when they are challenged by their work:
- Passion: Challenge brings out the team’s passion for the daily work. If they are headed to a daring destination, it means the outcome is important and the work has purpose. Purpose ignites their passion.
- Growth: Challenge leads the people to learn and grow new skills. If the work doesn’t stretch them, they will get bored and distracted, and perhaps look for new work. If they are stretched, they are fully engaged and growing in capability.
- Accountability: Challenge gives the team an opportunity to be responsible and to contribute to the outcomes. Without challenge, the team can’t show us their commitment and drive for results.
- Teamwork: The best teams want to accomplish the challenge with others – to collaborate in a way that generates the best possible solutions. Most people on your team know that they can’t single-handedly accomplish a big idea – but with a team, the possibility becomes real.
- Confidence: A sports team that never wins any games gets depleted and discouraged. So does a work team. Succeeding at challenging work builds the confidence of the entire team – and in doing so, makes it more likely that they will create winning results again. Success breeds success.
Your aspiration for the team is critical to engaging the team – accessing the passion, growth, accountability, teamwork and confidence that drives superior performance results.
Are you sticking your neck out as a leader – insisting on a bold, daring destination? Are you overcoming your fear and anxiety for the benefit of your team?
Be a light bulb for your organization. Energize the people with your vision. Give them a chance to be exceptionally successful.