Inspiration Point
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

While listening to a podcast on my way to the office I was reminded of my favorite magazine that comes every other month. I have been getting this magazine for almost 20 years.  The magazine is centered around classic wooden boats, but on the last page of each issue is a feature called “Inspiration Point.” This one-page article is meant to be encouraging or inspiring to the readers with no mention of wooden boats. Why would they put an article that never mentions boats, boating, or restoration techniques in a magazine dedicated to classic boats? Because all of us need inspiration and encouragement from time to time.

Several weeks ago, in our podcast, I shared the title Chief Encouragement Officer, or CEO, with our listeners. Call it inspiration or encouragement; this job function is sorely missing in organizations throughout our community, state, and country. We spend so much time and money on process improvements, employee performance appraisals, and employee engagement surveys, but often miss the simple answer. Just look for people we can encourage and inspire. Someone once asked me the question “How do you know if a person needs encouragement?” The answer is so simple — if they are breathing, they need encouragement.

When I think back on my 12 years as a senior executive, I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t do nearly enough encouraging. I thought my job focus was to drive revenues up and expenses down. Perhaps in principle I was right, yet in practice I was mostly wrong. A key role that I was ignoring was that of inspiring and encouraging others. If we as leaders spent more time inspiring and encouraging our teams, they would be the ones driving process improvements and innovation. Revenues would go up, costs would come down, and our employee performance appraisals could be employee development meetings where team members would feel empowered to pursue excellence in every aspect of their life.

How about you? Do you want to be the Inspiration Point in your organization? If so, please join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast as we discuss ways to inspire and encourage those around us every day.

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