Drive Performance by Appealing to Emotions
Sean Lynch, December 12, 2016
In the United States Air Force, I flew in high-performing, F-16 fighter squadrons that were striving for excellence. Lives depended on us doing our very best. Members of our flight, other airplanes (such as air refueling tankers or warning and control aircraft), in addition to ground troops were all counting on us for support. Letting any of those people down might result in loss of friendly lives. Our pursuit of excellence was driven in part by intense emotions — the desire to prevent loss of life.
While the same stakes don’t exist in all business organizations, harnessing the emotions of your team and colleagues can inspire the drive for excellence and high levels of performance. Consider connecting with the emotions of your team by:
- Telling an inspirational story about the organization’s past. Find a historical narrative that illustrates how effort and commitment achieved an inspirational outcome. The story might be about innovation, survival, excellence, or overcoming a crisis. Use the story to instill the pride to continue the tradition.
- Emphasizing the critical nature of the organization’s current mission. Do you build something extraordinary that is crucial for your customers or society at large? Are you one of a kind or the best of the best? Alternatively, do you provide a product or service that produces smiles or relieves hardship?
- Crafting an inspiring vision about what the organization is trying to achieve. Paint a compelling picture about where your team is going and what it can achieve together. Connect with the very real desire to be part of something bigger and make a contribution to special or important objectives.
Emotions can be powerful sources of motivation. Use stories about the past, the organization’s current mission, or where you are going together to appeal to your team’s emotions and drive performance even higher.
Looking for other ways to inspire your team or colleagues to drive performance? Consider giving them a copy of our new book, SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success.