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Posted: December 18, 2016

Clarity of purpose, that’s why

colincampbellBy Colin J. Campbell

On Friday May 6, 2016, in front of a live and worldwide audience via satellite in excess of 100,000, Andy Stanley, Pastor of the North Point Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and author asked the audience three questions.

1. What was Barrack Obama’s campaign slogan? Immediate answer from the live audience: “Change”

2. What is Donald Trump’s campaign slogan? Answer as immediate: “Make America Great Again.”

3. What is Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan? Answer, silence. They didn’t know.

With three questions, five months before the US Presidential election and Hillary Clinton with what appeared to be an insurmountable lead in the polls, Andy Stanley predicted the outcome of the election. Stanley is not a pollster, he does not have a crystal ball nor did he indicate any favouritism one to the other.

What he was illustrating is that clarity of purpose will trump integrity and humility every time. People will forgive mistakes and character flaws when there is clarity. Clarity is magnetic, we will support and vote for the candidate who is clear about what his goals are.

Having a compelling why will empower how. Why it could be, is fuelled by the conviction of what should be. Having a vision or purpose with clarity results in influence, which is the essence of leadership. Unfortunately sometimes the leadership may not be exactly what we want, case in point, Napoleon or Hitler.

The occasion for this presentation was Leadercast 2016, a day long seminar with a host of speakers. This year’s theme was ‘Architects of Tomorrow.’ The future is better because of the architects of tomorrow.

Becoming a vision architect, for tomorrow starts today. This theme predicated Stanley’s remarks, I am quite sure he was a surprised as everyone by the outcome of the election, however what he was attempting was to define what is really important in leadership and what makes great leaders.

Here are the three key points that Stanley raised;

1. State the Why; simplify with clarity.

It needs to be memorable and portable. The solution to all problems are people, ask yourself these questions: What would happen if we disappeared? If we are the solution what is the problem? When your staff come to work what do the come to do? You hire their hands and brains but you want to engage their heart.

2. Cast it conveniently. State the problem with clarity; State the solution. Explain why: Why is tough, it is from the heart; Present your vision; Make it simple; State it often.

3. Celebrate success systematically. What is rewarded is repeated. Build leaders worth following.

Great leaders and great companies impact change. Their purpose must be more than just profits, it has to for the betterment of their employees and customers. As Stanley pointed out business is not good at this, non-profits like Habitat for Humanity do a much better job of establishing clarity of purpose and allowing people to expand their talents. Sadly studies show that three out of four employees would take a new boss over a pay raise.

In his book, “Ask it” Stanley suggests the question you should ask yourself before you make any decision is, “What is the wise thing to do?” You can modify the question to suit the situation such as: “In light of my past experience what is the wise thing that I should do?” Or “In light of my current circumstances what is the wise thing to do?” Use this question to help you establish your ‘Why’ with clarity.

Leadership is not just for politicians or presidents of large corporations, the principles apply to everyone, how we conduct ourselves in personal relationship as well as how we treat our bosses and fellow employees will be impacted by the traits of good leadership. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living it will make a difference if you make a habit of becoming a better leader.

Colin J. Campbell CFP, CLU is an independent financial advisor and managing partner of Guidance Planning Strategies Ltd, in Cranbrook.  Serving the Kootenay’s since 1995, Guidance Planning Strategies focuses on helping families and entrepreneurs create wealth and keep it for generations.

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