I joined a group of Niagara professionals at IdeaShare yesterday for breakfast and met some very inspiring entrepreneurs who had some great stories to share. The IdeaShare concept is essentially a Mastermind group (think Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich) where a group of business leaders and entrepreneurs get together to discuss issues that are relevant to their business and the rest of the members provide advice and/or thoughts that might help them work through their challenge.
At the end of the meeting Dennis O’Neill shared something he was told by a mentor previously in his life which was resonating with him – and it definitely resonated with me:
Logic leads to conclusion; emotion leads to action.
Having recently spent six years working for a major Canadian institution this one simple thought immediately spoke to me. So often in business we focus on gathering data, pulling together facts, and applying logic and reason to be able to make decisions. In fact I would say that activity of supporting logic and facts to get to conclusions actually took up a majority of my time in my old role. (Note: not criticizing my old organization – I’ve seen this time and time again in organizations of all sizes).
In the world of scientific business management we are most comfortable making decisions and drawing conclusions from the facts we can generate and the logic we apply to them, but the result of those decisions and conclusions often isn’t the action and buy in that we had hoped to derive.
Until we create an emotional story that connects people to the reason for the action we will struggle to get people on board with moving forward. They might be willing to follow process and procedure and you may be able to execute on your plan, but they won’t buy in to the underlying “why” of the plan and so you lose the opportunity to adapt and accelerate as you move forward.
The power of “why” is the reason that the emotional story both works and is required. That emotional story and connection is well summed up in this TED talk from Simon Sinek – “How Great Leaders Inspire Action“:
Later in my day I had another inspiring conversation with a new contact who made a related observation to me when talking about my career aspirations, experience, and approach:
Isn’t it a disappointing commentary on society that a human approach to leadership is a real differentiator these days?
I actually think that the two thoughts (and Simon’s TED talk) are very closely related and speak to the same underlying value that is incredibly powerful in both your career as a leader or in building your business as an entrepreneur or sales person.
Business has swung so far towards metrics and measurement, facts and logic, and graphs and figures that we have lost touch with the underlying reason for all businesses – to deliver value to humans. That value can be in the form of an exciting and invigorating environment for employees to thrive and grow or in the form of something that a customer values in their consumption of goods and services, but ultimately it is the value that has the power.
Value can be communicated with facts and figures or it can be communicated with emotion. I would argue that if we can refocus ourselves on the human side of the business that we will see much greater success. Indeed it is emotion that is going to create the action and buy in that we desire. After all…
Tim Empringham, MBA
Tim Empringham is a passionate advocate for Innovation in organizations of all sizes as a mechanism to drive growth, create uncontested market space, create new customer value, and drive efficiency into the internal organization. His focus is on disruption of thinking and markets through integrative thinking, structured Innovation frameworks, and leadership development of Innovation and Change leaders within the organization.