Blog
home | site map | privacy policy


The Defining Moment: The Straw That Stirs The Drink Of Motivational Leadership (Part Two)


In Part One, I described the importance of establishing deep, human connections with people you lead. I said there were three ways to do that, by communicating information, by making sense, and by having your experience become their experiences. By far, the most important and most effective way, is the latter.

Now I'll show you how to make that happen by developing and communicating a defining moment.

Write down three to five of your EXPERIENCES that made a strong impression on you. Describe each in a few sentences or paragraphs. That's it. Do no more. The important thing now is to deliberately walk through the sequence of defining-moment development. It's easy to get off track, but once you take the trouble to go through the process, you'll have it for life.

For instance, an experience that defines much of what I do in leadership happened when my father lay on his deathbed. He and I had struggled for years over conflicting views of my career path, but when he got cancer, the terrible disease led to a healing in our relationship, and for the first time in years, we were able to talk with affection and no recriminations. During a long discussion one afternoon a few weeks before he died, I told him that I felt I had run out of opportunities in my life.

His thin hand, which had been so broad until he became ill (He came from a family of hulking carpenters.) closed around mine, and he said, "Brent, how can you say that? Everyone has opportunities all the time. Look at me. Even me, here, on this bed - even I have opportunities!"

I didn't think much about what he said until after he died, and then his words kept coming back to me. Sort of breaking open in my mind like psychological time-release capsules and releasing bits of understanding. I came to understand what he really meant. And I took that understanding into my life and work.

Since then, I have never lacked for opportunities - simply because my father had me see that opportunities are never lacking - nor have I allowed the leaders I've worked with to lack opportunities.

"Even I have opportunities" is a defining moment, an experience, one that led to profound awareness and purposeful action - not for my sake, but for the sake of the leaders I'm consulting with. For the defining moment's purpose is not to illuminate what you can do, but what they can do.

Now that you've written down some defining experiences, you can begin to change them into defining moments. The experience is the raw material; the defining moment is the instrument, shaped from the raw experience, that enables you to reach into the hearts of the people you speak to and motivate them to take action to get results.

1. Select an audience to speak to. It can be one person or many. It can be someone at work, in your family, or in your social circle. This should be an important interaction. You don't simply want to communicate but to have a communion with the audience.

Don't expect the defining moment to automatically generate that communion. Often, it simply marks a small step you're taking in that direction. But that step is the very core of the right beginning.

2. Identify the needs of the audience. This is absolutely crucial to using the defining moment. The defining moment is all about human relationships, and you cannot have a rich relationship with someone unless and until you understand their needs.

3. Once you've chosen an audience and identified their needs, go back and select one of the EXPERIENCES you wrote about.

At this point, don't try to connect that experience to what you are going to say to your audience. We'll make that connection later. Many speakers try prematurely to make the connection. In doing so, they short-circuit the power of the defining moment. Hold off on making the connection until we've gone through a few more steps.

4. Take each experience and identify the physical facts that gave you the emotion. In my father's case, it was his hand squeezing mine and his smile and gentle words, "... even I have opportunities."

5. Have the experience be a solution to the needs of your audience. That solution lies in the lesson the defining moment teaches.

Here is the secret: The defining moment exists not for you to point out what you did, but for you to point out what the audience can do. In other words, your defining moment must become their defining moment. If it doesn't become their defining moment, it doesn't work.

Take, for example, my defining moment with my father. All the leaders I've worked with need to get more results than they're presently getting. In fact, the leader who is satisfied with the results he or she is getting doesn't need my help. My methods are not for the satisfied leader. To an audience that needs to get more results, I talk about opportunity, the opportunity to get results. Results are limitless!

When I talk to audiences about such opportunities, I use that defining moment. I say, "What I'm about to tell you isn't so much about me as it is about you and the unlimited opportunities to get results." That introduction is vital. It confirms that our interaction is about them and not about me. When my father's words resonate with their deepest needs, the defining moment works. Otherwise, it's a waste of their time.

6. Speak to your audience about your defining moment. Make sure it holds a solution to their needs. Don't have your defining moment stick out awkwardly in your interaction. Have it be a spontaneous, seamless communication said in a natural, relaxed way.

As a leader, you do nothing more important than get results. And the best way for you to get results is not to have people respond to your orders but to motivate them to be your ardent cause leaders. We never know how good we are as leaders unless we are motivating people to be better than they think they are. The defining moment goes a long way in helping make that motivation possible.

2005 The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: brent@actionleadership.com

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. - and for more than 20 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at http://www.actionleadership.com

Leadership is best defined by the quality of your thoughts, decisions and actions. It is also underpinned by the quality of the tools you use in your role. Be seen to bring true leadership to your organization and act with the authority that it brings to you.

Site Build It! Tools


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Forbes

6 New Leadership Literacies Lawyers Must Build
Forbes
According to talent development strategist Terri Mottershead, “pivotal to all these changes, particularly if they are to be sustained, is acting strategically, investing in the business, employing the right people and proactively managing change.” If ...



You Were Promoted to a Leadership Role but You Feel Unprepared. Don't Panic.
Forbes
After you accept your promotion and prepare for a new leadership role, you can honor those newfound nerves. But you should also remind yourself that being a manager is about more than holding a spotless record. Your mishaps make you a more relatable ...



Forbes

Leadership Is Not The Same As Telling Other People What To Do
Forbes
Marcelino Elosua left his job as CEO of Spanish olive oil producer Carbonell to set up LID Publishing in 1993. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the business book publisher has produced titles with over 2,500 authors and employs 75 staff in seven ...



CNBC

Here's the best way to cure toxic leadership, says former Yum Brands CEO
CNBC
We have a huge leadership gap in our work force and it must be addressed now. News of toxic leadership is all too pervasive these days. From business to Hollywood to government, no industry or organization seems to be immune. The harsh reality is that ...

and more »


CNBC

South Africa's new leadership has started well, top mining boss says
CNBC
"The new leadership under Mr. Ramaphosa has started very well," Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said Thursday. "They've reached out their hands to the mining industry and said they want to see the industry grow." Resurrecting South Africa's mining ...

and more »


Wall Street Journal

Ford Names New North America President in Leadership Shuffle
Wall Street Journal
“The company really needs consistent leadership in order to deliver the results Wall Street is demanding.” Ford's share price, trading at $10.67, is virtually unchanged since Mr. Hackett took over. The company has been losing ground to both of its ...

and more »


Yale News

Leadership Forum aims to amplify influence of women in African governments
Yale News
Through its Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact, Yale is working to enhance the knowledge and skills of senior African women leaders and to build a network of peers and thought leaders across the continent. The forum — supported by La Fundación ...



Dallas News (blog)

Changes coming to DPS leadership as two deputy directors announce retirement
Dallas News (blog)
AUSTIN — Two of the Texas Department of Public Safety's three deputy directors will retire in August, leading to major changes in the agency's leadership team, Director Steve McCraw said Tuesday. Presenting in front of the state's five-person Public ...



Toledo Blade

New leadership approved for Port Authority board
Toledo Blade
Bank executive John Szuch was elected chairman of the board of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority following a one-month delay because of concerns over the out-going chairman serving a third term. Mr. Szuch, executive officer of Signature Bank, N.A ...

and more »


Washington Examiner

Trump has shown true leadership since Parkland shooting
Washington Examiner
President Trump has offered strong leadership since last week's horrific school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The president's listening session with victims of the shooting at the White House on Wednesday offers the best example. Rather than lecturing the ...
'ATTACKS WOULD END!': Trump doubles down on arming some teachers, defends NRAWashington Post

all 2,278 news articles »

Google News

© 2016 Definition Of Leadership & Career Consulting Limited