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Finding Inspiration at Work

July 12, 2022

If I am leading people, I want them to be inspired. 

I believe the same is true for you. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a company, the team leader of a project, or the volunteer coordinator of a non-profit, any leader in any organization wants every person working for them to be inspired. People who are inspired are more motivated to do good work and to live productive lives.

But here’s a challenge: What can I do to inspire people? The prospect seems daunting, perhaps even overwhelming.

ADDO is the Latin word for “Inspire”, and though we’re always working to grow in this area, we’ve had concrete success, from inspiring high school students through Chick-fil-A Leader Academy to helping our clients inspire their own teams to achieve their goals. Here’s a secret: it’s more simple than you might think!

Let me suggest a two-step process.

Step 1: Find inspired people. 

I know. This doesn’t really answer the question about how to inspire people, but it’s actually an important first step. Lou Holtz is a famous former football coach who said, “It’s not my job to motivate players. They bring extraordinary motivation to our program. It’s my job not to de-motivate them.” If you’re a leader, find talented people who are also inspired by the vision and mission of the work you are doing.

Your job as a leader is not to manufacture inspiration out of thin air; it’s to find the fire of inspiration behind each individual you lead and fuel that fire.

Step 2: Unlock the things that inspire them. 

Once you find a team of inspired individuals (or at least mostly inspired individuals), it’s important to unlock what exactly inspires each one. Everyone is different, so this takes intentionality. I have three C’s you can remember as you seek to inspire your team:

1. Care. Understand what is important to the people you lead by asking good questions and truly listening to discover what matters to them at their core. Remember: What is important to someone is not always what they say is important. This is why you need to know what is going on in their life to know what they care about. When you care about people, it’s easy to learn what they care about.

2. Consistency. Inspiration is cultivated and maintained through small, consistent moments over time. Culture is created in the small moments and memorialized in the big ones. If you are banking on your one retreat each year to provide enough inspiration to motivate your team until your next retreat, you’ll be disappointed, and your team will be less than inspired. 

The best kind of inspiring culture is established through one on one conversations, celebrating daily wins, and continually reminding your team of the why behind what they are doing. So when the big moment comes, your team will be genuinely inspired and grateful to be a part of your team.

3. Connect what’s important. In other words, connect the mundane to the meaningful. Connect activity to accomplishment. Connect your work to the greater mission. If you are seeking to inspire a new team member, you need to understand who she is and what drives her. You need to be consistent in your intentionality, and you need to connect her daily tasks to her purpose or to the greater goals of your organization. 

My purpose and our purpose here at ADDO is to inspire people today to impact tomorrow. So this blog is as much a challenge to me as it is to you. If our own team isn’t inspired, we will never fulfill our mission to inspire others!

Work this week to intentionally inspire the individuals on your team in the little moments, so the big moments will make an even greater impact on your culture and productivity.


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