Many organisations spend hundreds of thousands of rands to bring in inspirational speakers to speak to their employees.
When employees walk away from these talks feeling inspired, it all seems worth it.
But, when they go back to their desks and get to work, reality hits them and inspiration fizzles away within a week.
So what is the point of these inspirational talks?
What is the point of being inspired if your daily life is structured to maintain the status-quo?
While the talk inspired them to think about innovative ideas, their organisation never really encouraged innovative ideas.
Sure, they said they wanted more of them. But, you always found yourself embroiled in organizational politics when you attempted to push change through.
Leaders and managers often wish for a more inspired work force. But, in situations like this one where there are no structures to support inspired employees, inspiration can often be counter productive.
Employees in such organisations walk away from attempts at inspiration feeling frustrated and cynical.
There are two important takeaways for us as leaders:
Firstly, If we seek to inspire our team, the most important thing to do is not to give an outstanding talk about why we do what we do. It is to provide the structure within which our team can go out and express themselves.
This means providing them clarity on why we do what we do, establishing clear norms and expectations on how we do our work [our culture] and being open to helping them define goals that help the team move forward while also helping them to learn, grow and hone their abilities.
Structuring work well requires openness to change and a great deal of thought as good structure needs to provide a certain amount of flexibility without it feeling like anarchy.
Secondly, if we seek to be inspired ourselves, no amount of inspiration will help if we don’t have structures in our life that help support doing work that matters.
This means a world-class collection of habits that help us focus through the day, be present with our loved ones and take care of ourselves.
Inspiration is important and you need it everyday, but if you don’t have a life structure that supports your goals, you will always need to be inspired before you do anything.
When you have developed a life structure that supports your goals, inspiration will just be a bonus.
Inspiration without structure is like an artificial flower, it looks good from a distance but it doesn’t feel or smell like the real thing.