After watching the recent plethora of presidential debates and primary speeches, and listening to broadcasters analyze candidates’ every word, gesture, and nuance, I’ve come to a conclusion. There are two candidate attributes that will win the day: inspiration and aspiration.
That got me thinking (yes, it happens occasionally). Aren’t these important features of a strong brand? Why, yes!
Merriam-Webster’s simple definition of “inspiration”:
- something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
- a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
- a good idea
When you watch the top candidates’ speeches, their supporters are cheering, waving posters, clapping and demonstrating exultation. They are truly inspired!
Are your business or nonprofit organization employees or co-workers openly communicating? If not, it has a big problem.
How can they ‘live the brand’ internally and externally if they’re afraid to rock the boat or feel that their feedback is pointless? They can’t.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article by James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, leaders use a variety of tools to get people to speak up. They focus on improving communication up and down the hierarchy.
But, these usually fail for two reasons:
- a fear of consequences (embarrassment, isolation, low performance ratings, lost promotions, and even firing)
- a sense of futility (the belief that saying something won’t make a difference, so why bother?)