Tom Peters is an enthusiastic, self-proclaimed management guru who shouts loudly with passion and enthusiasm at anyone who will listen to do COOL STUFF.
He annoys many with his substance- free, capitalised, neon coloured generalities that are intended to get your attention, encourage action, inspire thought or promote change.
I’ve heard and seen him perform too many times to remain impressed.
Today, however, I found myself yearning for his colour, inspiration, enthusiasm and passion. I was coaching a competent, conscientious, capable leader who was meeting resistance to her latest review. When I asked about its purpose, the reply was ‘due process’. When I asked what followed the review, she hesitated. She was unclear about where it would lead, or where she wanted it to lead.
Yesterday an equally capable senior executive was expressing frustration because his people weren’t yet ‘on board the bus’.
When I queried where the bus was going, he gave me a step by step plan, explicit time frames, milestones, detailed processes, and a framework to follow. He’d done the work and come up with the map. It was so detailed it left no room for error – or imagination, judgement or creativity.
If you’re a leader, your first job is to lead others to a better future. To do this you must be able to see and articulate what others can’t yet see. You may need to use colour, bold rhetoric, creative fonts and capital letters. It helps to be enthusiastic, passionate, articulate and energetic .
Your next job is to get out of the way. Don’t dull the colour with white wash or stifle your artists with too small a canvas or brush. Give them the tools they need, an easel to support their work and the space to create a masterpiece.