The Tone is set at the top. Be the example you wish to see in others.
Be the example you wish to see in others. So much is accomplished through setting the right example. The power of Social Proof states that when we don’t know what to do, we look to others for cues. Social proof is largely example setting. You can pioneer the way if you choose to. We look to other people — peers or those older than us — and we act accordingly. Now, we know what to do. This not only works on kids, this works on adults, too. To be a person of influence, you must set the example you wish to see in others. We may not have many in-person role models. This is why, as someone in leadership, it is vital to set the correct, high standard. Be the model of thinking. Be the model of behavior. Show people what’s possible. Be as ambitious as you can be. This will make others raise their game and desire to improve. It makes them want to do better. It gives them something to shoot for. It raises their standard of thinking and behaving and emotion.
Before Alan Mullaly, Ford Motor Company had a toxic culture. There was incessant in-fighting, backstabbing, and throwing under the bus. People did not look out for one another; they aspired to look better than one another. As a result, there was little helping each other out. There was little teamwork. It was hard to get things done. The divisions were often at war with one another.
Alan Mulally enters Ford as CEO in the mid 2000’s. Ford was a company on the brink of bankruptcy. Amidst all the in-fighting and employee difficulties and everyone trying to look good, people had a hard time determining the truth and knowing what was honest. Alan comes in and applies new discipline to an organization badly in need of it. He instills his business plan review meetings each Thursday and makes them mandatory. He also instills a new cellphone policy during the meetings forcing the executives to pay attention to one another’s presentations and not their smartphones. Mulally also stresses a culture of honesty, stating and re-stating that if they cannot be honest with one another, then the company will not be able to survive bankruptcy. They must have a clear picture of where they stand at all times. The data must be vetted and must be honest. And the executives must be honest with themselves and with each other if they’re going to help one another. While the executives hated these moves at the time, they were culture-shifting statutes. Mulally was slowly turning around the sinking ship at Ford through new business disciplines. Importantly, he was setting the example he wished to see in his executives. He constantly raised their ambition. He cheered them on whenever he saw positive behavior in the direction he wished. He implored them to be honest with one another and positively reinforced it publicly whenever problems were disclosed. He offered help to solve them. He shut down people who were too close-minded to change and clung too hard to the Ford old guard. They would self-select out of the organization. Slowly, Ford’s toxic culture and its finances improved as these new disciplines made their way from the top down in the organization.
Alan Mulally entered Ford and brought its employees new disciplines, new ways of thinking, new behaviors, and changed the entire firm. No one inside Ford thought this was possible, even Bill Ford himself. Everyone in the automotive press had written Ford off as a lost cause. Its competitors laughed at them as they sputtered and flailed. Yet one man with a brilliant engineering mind and deeply-embedded disciplines entered the tough scene and made a big difference largely by example setting. He turned around a huge, near-broken, undisciplined organization and made it successful once again. Alan Mulally at Ford proves that one man can make a massive difference for good. Alan shaped employees’ thinking. He raised their ambitions within their industry and within themselves. And he instilled new behaviors in the firm to guide them to their new destination. He set the tone of the organization by being the example he wished to see in others. And people responded to his leadership by rallying around, helping each other out, being honest, not hiding problems, and being dedicated to improvement.
Be the example you wish to see in others. Leaders set the tone at the top.
Today’s influencers shape peoples’ thinking. They raise their ambitions higher than they think themselves capable. And influencers set the example they wish to see in others. These three actions earn them influence and attention and action. When they talk, people listen. They feel heightened in their presence. People want to do better, to be better, when they’re in these leaders’ orbit. People want to be around confident people who believe in them and in their abilities and offer a compelling future. Influence comes naturally when you make people feel good about themselves.
Be the example you wish to see in others. Set your influence right off the bat. If you want to see changes in others, be those changes you wish to see. Let people see what the standard is. Give them something to aspire to. Set expectations high and let them work their way to them. Make them work for it. The more they work for it, the more they appreciate what they’ve accomplished. Also, it gives them a sense of having skin in the game. People need to feel like they’ve had a hand in creating something. Give them that opportunity. This way, they feel like they’re 100% on board with changes that may be coming. They will be far more receptive to the changes if they participated in them out of the gate. People need to feel that sense of belonging and accomplishment when it comes to leadership. They need to feel that sense of ownership. Without it, they may not buy-in to the new changes and push back on them. We support what we help to create.