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Processes Need Passion

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I applaud what McDonald’s did from the start; create extraordinary results from ordinary people through the repeatable system. In fact it’s the basis for Pillar 4 of the Big6 Operating System: build, teach, institutionalize and continuously improve processes (incl. systems, protocols) across the organization. 

But processes are not enough. We can know what to do and still not do it.  To do it, we have to want it.  Wanting is a feeling.  Feelings drive action.  Emotion creates motion.  

Great leaders know this. They excel at addressing feelings and creating the will to do what must be done.  

Napoleon Bonaparte was a master at this. Yes, he was a gifted battle strategist and tactician. But most importantly, his soldiers did what was needed. They were dedicated and disciplined. They endured many hardships.  They fought hard. They marched long distances, fast. And they executed his demanding battlefield maneuvers precisely. 

Why did they do it? Because they loved and respected him and serving him made them feel good.  

Because he made them feel important and gave meaning to their lives.  He told them they were the greatest fighting force in the world and that the glory of France was in their hands.  

He gave them confidence, making them believe that they were capable of extraordinary achievements.  And he proved it by winning one battle after another. 

He celebrated them after each victory, erecting monuments in their honor and minting bronze medals to commemorate their successes.  

Mostly, he showed them that he cared. He got them the supplies and equipment they needed.  He routinely visited the injured.  And, unlike other top military commanders, he spent time with them in person, asking them to freely share their grievances.  

What can we learn about from Napoleon?   

  1. To map the way with a clear game plan and detailed steps, or processes
  2. And to attend to the will:
  1. To care about our people and to show it in our words and actions.  
  2. To inspire them with a vision and purpose that gives their work meaning.  
  3. To give them confidence that they can achieve the extraordinary
  4. To celebrate them for who they are and for what they do.

Processes are essential but they’re not enough. To achieve outsized success your team has to “want it” with passion.  They must have a strong desire, the will to execute.  So, go on … care, inspire, motivate and celebrate. They’re ready. 

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