By Martina Willis, alumna at the Rao Institute
To be a successful leader in the new world of more and more emerging EXOs such as Uber, Airbnb, Google, Amazon etc., it is time to take off our corporate masks and start speaking a different language.
- To become real.
- To be human foremost.
- To come alive.
- To shift our language from a data, facts and logic driven idiom to an empathic, emotion driven language that touches people at their core level.
- A tongue that creates deeply felt meaning and connection.
- Fuelling people to levels of performance not thought possible.
- To give them wings by touching them deep in their being.
The dilemma we face
Leaders are being driven further to get more and more out of their people; to drive them to even higher performance and create more shareholder value (money) each quarter. Leaders today are expected to accelerate growth in their organisations on seemingly unhuman levels.
At the same time, cost-cutting is the reality, leaving them with less and less room to manoeuvre and very few resources for growth. It is a seemingly pointless rat race that we cannot win. To make it even worse, shareholders see those other organisations (EXOs) that accelerated, seemingly out of nowhere, to great heights and now expect the same from their investment in long-standing corporations.
So what is going on here? How can it be that those new emerging EXOs started with barely anything, from a garage, and experienced accelerated growth in an exponential manner to become the LinkedIn, Facebook, Airbnb etc. we see today? They did not have the resources or the money large corporations have.
But somehow, magically, they are in existence, against all odds. And large corporations, even though they have massive resources at their fingertips, cannot make the jump to become an EXO.
What is it those new emerging EXOs have that traditional, linear growth organisations do not have? What are those magic ingredients?
Purpose and meaning
People in EXOs are deeply driven by the need to create something big.
They have meaning in their lives, or rather their work/job is not just merely a 9-to-5 one. It is their life.
They have people who can dream and hold a vision of a very bright future. Who work relentlessly to make their dream a reality.
They want to change the world on a grand scale. Their livelihood literally depends on it. They are fuelled by their being and the need for self-actualisation. They have passion for what they do and who they are. And when they talk about their work you can see their whole being light up.
Their eyes shine bright and you feel them to be alive, full of passion and the love they have for their work. You do not have to tell these people how to do their work or make them do the work. They do it because it has become them. They completely identify with what they are doing, as it is in-line with who they are in their core – aligned with their purpose and vision.
They have grown wings that lift them over seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.
Passion – the language infecting others to collaborate
They have the capability to connect to others and move them under their spell.
The language they use to create these connections is not “if you join me you will earn X amount”. They use the language of the heart fuelled with their passion. They touch others on their core level.
They create meaning in the lives of others, they give them direction. Therefore, people want to join and also become a part of something much greater than themselves. They create communities of mutual aid, understanding, and open sharing, where seemingly random people come together and work in collaboration to make the dream become reality.
What connects them in the first place is not facts and data, but a deeply felt, shared purpose. A purpose to make this world a better place for all; to create something new that will lift humanity onto a next level with a new service, invention or technology that has become attainable for the huge masses.
The new “human core, heart driven” leader
We need new leaders for this new emerging, ever faster growing EXO world we are in now if we want to succeed and catapult our organisations into the next decade.
We need leaders who have the ability to connect to others on a meaningful, deeply heartfelt level. Leaders who are humble and responsive to their teams and do not see their role as being the “Big Boss” fuelled by their own ego and personal agenda, fear, and the need to control others.
We need leaders who understand and have empathy towards the core drivers of humans.
We know that we have entered the post-“food and shelter”, primarily money driven, stage on Maslow’s hierarchy of need when dealing with EXOs. Leaders who are driven to see their people succeed and become better than themselves and have no issue with becoming obsolete one day, but rather feel proud for each team member who can walk by themselves without their help.