Direction, Energy, and Passion How Do Leaders Tap into Them?
My first tendency as a leader is to stay in the What Zone with my people. Meaning, my urge is to tell them what to do, what they are doing right or wrong, and what they need to change. While the What Zone gives direction and it is important, we must challenge ourselves as leaders to get to the How and the Why Zones.
The How Zone goes beyond what the outcome must be to describe the behaviors needed to get us there, the inner workings of a process and layers that produce a goal. When people understand how things work, energy is created. But when we know the noble reason why we do what we do, we enter the Why Zone, a place we become truly passionate about our vision.
Allow me to define these zones even further.
Here is an example of getting into the Zones with a customer satisfaction issue regarding bedside manner. Watch how a leader can tap into direction, energy, and passion in order to resolve the situation and create lasting change for this division.
The What Zone gives us direction.
The easiest of the three, the What Zone gives us direction. It tells us what is and what is not. It describes reality and establishes our goal. When an executive shares the data of a report with their people, they are describing what the current situation is. Then, they may describe what the next level is that everyone should aim toward. In our organization it is important to tell our doctors that we need to have an excellent bed side manner. That is what our goal must be if we are to genuinely care for our patients and have a successful practice. It is important to define what needs to happen. But we must not stop there, because people usually do not engage with a simple goal.
The How Zone gives us energy.
The How Zone requires more effort to discover and communicate. A leader must think and prepare, dig and search, in order to convey how the best means and behaviors will improve a situation. It is one thing for me to tell the doctors at our organization to treat patients with a great bedside manner. That is easy to do, and we must define our goal. It is harder is to figure out how specific behaviors are perceived by patients. How do we treat patients in a way that is desirable to them? It’s even harder to determine how to measure a doctor’s behavior and train them to do it. A few years ago we discovered four steps that define a successful patient interaction: Connect, Listen, Solve, Promote. It took considerable work to identify and define these points, then effectively train our medical staff on how to present good bedside manner to our patients.
As you are building your team and organization, your challenge is to go beyond the obvious, beyond the clear vision, and find out how things must be done to support your vision. When you stand in front of your team to give a talk, do you just tell them what to do? Or have you spent hours thinking of key behaviors that describe how they must do it?
As you enter the How Zone, you will see energy rising from your team. People suddenly have faith. Then, they see results and taste success.
The Why Zone gives us passion.
The Why Zone takes the most effort. This zone defines why it is that we are doing what we can to make the world a better place. Having a caring bedside manner is beneficial in making us a better medical organization, but it is a not reason enough to give me or my people passion. Why is short for, “Why do we exist?” Why does our organization matter? Why answers our purpose.
The hardest part of the why is to keep ourselves clear and motivated by it. Tapping into the why gives us a continual spring of passion. Then, and only then, can we share our passion with the people we lead and invite them to share in it with us.
So, in this illustration, why must our doctors have a good bedside manner? For us, it is to be salt and light, which is a core value at our clinics. It is to impact lives, not just heal bodies. It is to show people we love them, not to just practice good customer service techniques.
We must remember, as leaders, it is our responsibility to discover the why for ourselves, then creatively and concisely communicate it to our people. Therefore, we must be renewed in our spirit regarding our passion. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to repeat it to your people.
In summary, the What Zone is comprised of goals that give us direction. The How Zone defines behaviors that give us energy. The Why Zone identifies reasons that give us passion. As leaders we must tap into all three zones, all the time.
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