Growing up in Southern California, I have very fond memories of the many summers spent at Disneyland. One of the old school rides, that is still there today, is called the Peoplemover. Its job was to move people on a slow paced journey around the second-floor observation areas of all the rides in Tomorrowland.

These memories remind me that at the end of the day, leaders have much the same responsibility as the Peoplemover at Disneyland. In fact, leaders are peoplemovers and our future is Tomorrowland. We have the responsibility to bring people to higher levels of personal skill-set and introduce them to the future of what they can be, and how their role fits into the big picture of what the organization can be with them as a vital part of the whole.

So let’s make this practical…
There are many ways that a leader must move their people to proficiency, but I want to discuss four of them with you here.

The First: Moving your direct reports from Low Awareness to High Awareness. What is the big picture for your organization? How do they fit into the big picture? How aware are they of the importance of their role. As the leader, you need far more than mindless drones in your organizations and if that is how they are currently operating you’ve no one to blame but yourself.

The Second: Moving your people from Rigidity to Flexibility. As the most valuable assets in your organization, your people need to be flexible. Mid-level managers or direct reports that are inflexible serve as a hard stop for the forward momentum of your organization. Building flexibility allows quick change and retargeting during shifts that would otherwise cripple your momentum.

The Third: You need to move your people from Adequacy to Expertise. Inside many of your best people is a creative monster itching to break free but you allow them to continue in the status quo without challenging them to think or act differently. What new seasons of growth are you missing because the environment that you have created is not conducive to ongoing learning and growth?

And Finally: You need to move your people from Isolation to the Dynamics of Team and the feeling of worth found in an organizational family. Forcing, or even allowing, your people to work isolated from the team is detrimental. Iron sharpens Iron and ideas incubate as organizational relationships are built. Not to mention the attitudes, health, and longevity of your people will be greatly increased. And that, is always a benefit to the organization.

Be a peoplemover.

Oh, and next time you are at Disneyland, make sure you ride the ride, it’s not a roller coaster, but it is a unique way to see Tomorrowland.

Here’s a quick video I shot in the Concierge Lounge at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach California.

Higher Standards

One current overwhelming reality is that there is no lack of moral failure in our society. We need only think of recent sports figures, politicians and others who have destroyed their lives because a pattern of decreasing moral standards was allowed to continue unabated. Surely these same individuals knew what the consequences would be for their actions. Didn’t they? Yet, they continued until it all fell apart.

Wake Up Call

As gifted men and women, ones who lead and drive dynamic organizations, we must be on guard against declining standards. Unless we consciously set higher and higher moral standards, we will continue to slip the other direction… In other words, there is no middle ground. Lack of progression equals decline.

The same principle applies to organizations as well as individuals. It has been said that the greatest hindrance to tomorrow’s success is today’s. We naturally tend to settle. We cannot allow this to happen. The dynamic organizational leader will reward the success of today, and set new goals for tomorrow.

“You don’t understand, that will burn out my people! We already drive the work ethic pretty heavily.”

Let me say this as delicately as I can; “Stop your excuses.” The reality is that people want progression. They want to be a part. If you are losing them, they either fail to see value or they are not feeling rewarded or recognized for the incremental accomplishments.

A Word of Warning

Driving success means celebrating success. Many leaders set the vision high. Rightly so. However, many of them make a terrible error by setting the celebration for accomplishment at the same level. This is wrong. We need to see the vision as the distant place we want to arrive, but we need to reward and recognize each of the steps in getting there.

Come with me to Paris. I was standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower and told my family to “look up!” I said, “we’re going to climb the stairs to the top!” “What!?!” came the reply. It was drudgery, until I began to count out the steps in increments of fifty. “Fifty… One Hundred… One Fifty…” Soon everyone was calling them out; “Two Hundred!!!” What started as drudgery, became excitement as we celebrated each fiftieth step. “Two Fifty!” Before we knew it, we were at the top! Six hundred and seventy four steps!

Had we waited until we came to the top to celebrate, I would have had to listen to requests to take the elevator the entire way up! Perhaps one of my kids would have broken ranks and headed the other direction. Maybe mutiny at step number Three Ninety Nine. Or, having made it to the top, faced a family who–for their anger–failed to appreciate the spectacular view from the top.

Celebrate each and every landing on your organizational journey, and set the next highest standard when you arrive.