Many have tried to explain how great leaders inspire action and get people to latch on to their inner motivation for maximum results.  There are many answers, methods, and speculations using other people’s experience to try to prove it.

Here you will get what one leader did to inspire action.   I am referring to myself.  I served 22 years in the US Navy as an officer, and ultimately a commanding officer.  My “job” was leadership.

I did not get to read books or listen to TED-X events to gain my success.  I learned from trial and error.  As the years passed, the trials became less, and the errors became less.  Throughout my time in the Navy it all added up to enormous success.

What You’ll Get Here for Leaders to Inspire Action and Results

First understand I fully believe that no one is a born leader.  I believe and know that anyone desiring to lead, can lead.  This doesn’t mean that everyone will be a leader.  Being a leader is a choice.  Most will choose to not be the leader because leading is full of struggles much more complicated than simply being a manager or employee.  Leading also requires a level of personal responsibility and accountability beyond typical non-leadership roles.  This leaves lots of openings for those that want to lead.

The way to become a leader is to fully embrace many principles I go through in my book Overpowering Oceans: 7 Leadership Principles that Crush Your Most Powerful Mental Barriers and use my Leaders Inspiration and Action Spheres.  You will get the spheres here to make you stand out immediately over your peers.   Use them and apply them to your personal and professional life to create overwhelming satisfaction of your personal value to others and your family is to do it.

Understanding and using the Leaders Inspiration and Action Spheres will give you a way to ensure those you lead understand where they fit in, and work for a common success as well as their own.  This will make your mission an ongoing inspiration to your team, group, or company.

I just happen to know this works from experience, but I also observed the successful leaders around me doing much the same.  Once you know these, you will likely see how the most successful companies in history used this methodology.  This is how great leaders inspire action and results.

The Leaders Inspiration and Action Spheres

Leadership is multi-dimensional.  That’s why I call the interaction to inspire action and results spheres.  It takes depth in thinking and applying these simple, interacting ideas.  When you willingly go beyond the surface, the amount you inspire will bring everyone’s motivation in more complete ways.

These spheres are not applied in a particular order.  You will find that different situations will be suited to using each sphere in a different order.  When you know you people and what you want to emphasize, you will choose a different sphere as the starting point. 

Nonetheless, I have found that either starting with the why or starting with the outcome tend to be the best starting points in most situations.

Why

Simon Sinek, I discovered, wrote a book called Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take ActionI mention this because I discovered by accident he did essentially the same analysis.  However, he left out one step. 

Sinek also tends to talk from a point of view of selling to the public versus leading people in an organization.  Probably why he left out one step.  This isn’t 100% true but is mostly the case.  

Nonetheless, he does a fantastic job of explaining the “why,” using Apple, Inc as and example.  He, in my opinion, over rates their product ingenuity.  The real creativity is in their marketing, and their “why” is the key to this.  It is why Apple can sell you products like they are all new technology when they really just provide improvements on existing technology most of the time.  It is also why people seem to forget their product recalls.

Apple’s “why” is what hooks people.

In being a leader, your team or organization want to be part of something meaningful.  Most want to believe it is something different.  Your “why” is what makes you stand out.  Sinek boils down Apples “why” to “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.  We believe in thinking differently.”

You can see they like challenging the status quo and doing things different.  Does this get your attention?

People when performing, buy into the “why” much more than into any other part of what they are about to do or undertake.  In sales as Sinek says, they literally buy the “why.”  It running an organization, they will live by the “why.”

Most people leave out the “why.”  This was especially true in the military.  It was common for average leaders to live with the “why” being, “because I said so.”  Maybe not quite that condensed, but that’s what it often amounted to.

I found the more I could have a clear cut “why” the easier it was to get people into action.  The team or organization would then maintain their motivation at a higher level simply by knowing their “why.”

Don’t stop there.  The “why” is great but putting it all together is where the real power lies.

How

The “how” is usually where average teams start.  The leaders often dive too quickly into how things will get done.  The “how” is vital but lacks inspiration when the “why” is not included somewhere in the discussion.

What’s better to you in this hypothetical retail store:

  1. Ok folks, this is how we will do things from here on out. We will always have an associate greet everyone entering the store in the friendliest way possible. We will guide them to what they want and keep them with them until their experience is complete.  No trying to force sales of unwanted products.  Ok, get to work.

or

  1. Ok folks, this is how we will do things from here on out. First, everything we do is because the customers deserve to be treated like family when they are in our store. We believe in treating everyone, regardless of what they are seeking, like they are the most special person in the store.  The way we will do this is ensuring an associate greets everyone entering in the friendliest way possible.  We will offer to guide them to what they want and keep with them until their experience is complete.  We won’t try to force sales on unwanted products but will suggest things in a way to make what they seek even better.

Can you feel the difference between 1 and 2?  Try reading them out loud so you hear the difference, too.   The example is simplistic and is not intended to be copied.  It’s intended to deliver the effect.

You can feel the difference when the “why” is present.

The example is very generic.  You will get more specific with your business and its products and services.

What

This is where Sinek leaves off and it’s mostly because he is more talking about leadership in a marketplace versus leading a team or organization.  It’s generally the simplest part to come up with.  Honestly, most people know what they are doing, creating, or selling.

Therefore, that’s all we need to spend on the what.  Just imagine, before moving on, only telling your team what they will be doing without telling them the why and how.  Would this seem a little empty to you if you were on the receiving end?

  • Ok team, were going to sell robo dolls this year. Let’s get to work.

Inspiring?

Does it make you want to go into action?

Does it really make you want to do anything?

Outcome

The problem with Sinek’s model if your trying to apply it to an organization is it doesn’t have any expectations.  People need to not only know the why, how, and what, but also your expected outcomes.  This often is the case in selling as well.

When in a complex organization like an aircraft carrier (which I ran the entire operations of), there are many departments.  The organization will have an outcome they wish to achieve, but the individual departments will also have different outcomes needed to ensure the “big” organization achieves its outcome.

Having an outcome makes it possible for the team to measure in their minds how much they have achieved.  Your team members, employees, associates, etc. can use the desired outcome as part of their motivation.  They will know to a significant degree how much they have achieved.  People do not like to feel like any task, regardless of how large or small has no end.

Make your outcomes as specific as possible, but not more than needed.  People generally like to know “how much of something” and “how long will it take.”  You may have other important specific like total sales, or achieving a grade, or getting to a specific net profit.  I don’t know what is right for you.  Just be as specific as necessary to enable your team to be able to judge how they are doing on the mission.

Remember, when team members, managers, and employees feel like something is never ending, they lose motivation.  The quality of work degrades, and the results for your company degrade as well.

Start applying the Leaders Inspiration and Action Spheres immediately because you will see immediate results.  If you haven’t been doing things like this, the first time might create some questions.  Don’t worry.  The questions will help you refine your efforts for the next time.

You will immediately find people are more motivated and ready to take action on their own when you apply the spheres.

Below is a short video from Sinek reviewing the why, how, and what. Watch it after reading the next section, and then imagine how much more impact you can have with your team by adding the outcome.