The REAL International Gold Standard: The Leadership Talk

The global economy has been a fact of life for decades now.  But the author asserts that most leaders don't understand the right kind of leadership to propel those organizations to great global success.  Here is a blue print on how to make your leadership truly effective on an international basis.

By Brent Filson - 2006

Working with thousands of leaders during the past 21 years in the global economy, I have found that most of them don't have a clue.  They may know to some extent how to do business on a global level.  But to exert the right kind of leadership on that level eludes them; so when I first meet them, they're usually getting the wrong results or the right results in the wrong ways. 
 
Of course, there are many successful global companies and leaders, but my experiences teach that they are successful not because of but in spite of their leadership activities.  They may do things right; but they are not doing the global leadership things right. If they got that leadership right, they'd be getting a lot more results.
 
Clearly, the challenges of leading on a global scale are daunting. Differences in time zones, cultures, currency dynamics can be vexing.  But one thing is the same.  It takes leadership for organizations to succeed – leadership that must drive results, not now and then, not ad hoc, not in patches but consistently in all cultures simultaneously. 
 
First, let's understand what kind of leadership is needed to achieve such success.  Then I'll give you a powerful tool to make it happen.
 
Leaders do nothing more important than have people get results. There are two ways for leaders to get results, order people to go from point A to point B or have the people want to go from A to B.  Clearly, the latter is more effective in getting results. Today, with speed, flexibility, and teamwork being driving global competitiveness, the order-leader who tyrannizes and micro manages can't compete against the leader who can build motivated teams to get results.
 
The days of the order-leader are not just numbered. They're over. Today, leadership is motivational or its stumbling in the dark. Because in terms of achieving more results faster continually, the order is the lowest form of leadership.  Here's why: Until recently, ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the order-giving way of leadership has flourished. Order comes from a Latin root meaning "to arrange threads in a woof". In the Revolution's early years, captains of industry dealt with the uneducated country folk in their factories by ordering them where, how and when to work. The most efficient and effective production methods were created when workers were "ordered" or ranked like threads in the woof of production lines.
 
Refined and empowered by the Victorian culture, with its patriarchal power structure and strong links to Prussian military organization and dictates, the culture of the order-giver reached its zenith in the United States after World War II.
 
In the following decades, with most of the industrialized world recovering from the war, many U.S. businesses were like ocean liners plowing through relatively calm seas, their leaders, like liner captains and mates, running things by getting orders from superiors, giving orders to subordinates and making sure those orders were carried out.
 
But with globalization, businesses worldwide are undergoing changes as radical as any since the Industrial Revolution. With competition increasing dramatically, with the volume and velocity of information multiplying, with information becoming accessible to more and more people, with the traditional, pyramidal structures of order-giving flattening, leaders today need skills akin not to ocean liner piloting but white-water canoeing.
 
Order leadership founders in an environment where lines of authority are dynamic, information widely disseminated, markets rapidly changing, and employees empowered. In such an environment, new leadership, motivational leadership, is needed.
 
In short, the leader who can "have" others get results.  That means global leadership is essentially motivational leadership.
 
That's the kind of leadership needed to achieve such success.  Now, here's the tool to make that leadership happen.  That tool is The Leadership Talk.  Here's what the Leadership Talk is all about.
 
When it comes to realizing motivational leadership around the world, there is a hierarchy of verbal persuasion.  This hierarchy extends to people everywhere, no matter what their culture, what job they hold, or what ambitions they have. 
 
The lowest levels of the hierarchy are speeches and presentations.  They communicate information.  The highest level, the most effective level is The Leadership Talk.  The Leadership Talk not only communicates information.  It does something much more.  It establishes deep, human, emotional connections with people.
 
The question isn't, "Why is this connection necessary in terms of getting organizational results?" (After all, the answer is obvious.), the question is, "Why is the Leadership Talk the gold standard for international leadership?"
 
For one thing, I've had top leaders in top companies worldwide applying it for more than two decades, and it simply works. It's all about helping leaders get what I call "more results faster, continually."  You can get those kinds of results on a global scale without the Leadership Talk.
 
The Leadership Talk is motivational, action-focused, results oriented anywhere it's used.
 
That's because its key process, the Three-trigger Motivational Process, is tied to universal human motivators.
 
I emphasize process -- which is a sequence of specific steps to achieve a particular outcome -- because it's not good enough to motivate people now and then, we must do it consistently. Process promotes consistency and advances the quality, quantity, and dependability of results.
 
The Leadership Talk process I'm going to show you has been working for many hundreds of leaders for nearly 20 years. It's called The Three-trigger Motivational Process. And it's the basis of all my leadership processes.
 
Note that the triggers are in the form of questions. 1) DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS? (2) CAN YOU BRING DEEP BELIEF TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? (3) CAN YOU HAVE THE AUDIENCE TAKE RIGHT ACTION?
 
When facing a leadership challenge, if you say "no" to any one of these questions, you can't give a Leadership Talk.  
 
(1) DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS?
Winston Churchill said, "We must face the facts or they'll stab us in the back."
 
When you are trying to motivate people, the real facts are THEIR facts, their reality.
 
Their reality is composed of their needs. In many cases, their needs have nothing to do with your needs.
Most leaders don't get this. They think that their own needs, their organization's needs, are reality. That's okay if you're into ordering. As an order leader, you only need work with your reality. You simply have to tell people to get the job done. You don't have to know where they're coming from. But if you want to motivate them, you must work within their reality, not yours.
 
I call it "playing the game in the people's home park". There is no other way to motivate them consistently. If you insist on playing the game in your park, you'll be disappointed in the motivational outcome.
 
(2) CAN YOU BRING DEEP BELIEF TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?
Nobody wants to follow a leader who doesn't believe the job can get done. If you can't feel it, they won't do it.
 
But though you yourself must "want to" when it comes to the challenge you face, your motivat

 

2006© The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – Celebrating 25 years of helping leaders of top companies worldwide achieve outstanding results every day. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get his FREE report "7 Steps To Leadership Mastery"