Raving Fans in Every Seat of the Bus - When You Don't Have Them

Great Leadership Lessons, Note 14
And Trust Me - It is Going to be a Real Problem When You Don't . . .

Yesterday I introduced the idea of Raving Fan to talk about the kinds of employees you want to have as a part of your team. When Jim Collins talks about having the RIGHT PEOPLE in the right seat on the bus, at the very least, the Right People are true Raving Fans of the organization.

They love the organization.
They love the mission and values (The Core) of the organization.
They love the culture of the organization.
They love the "story" of the organization.
They love what they do as part of the organization.

When you love in this way, that breeds loyalty and longevity. This is what turns workers into leaders. This is what turns employees into Raving Fans. It is easy to see the benefits and advantages of having such people on your team. It may not be as easy to understand what happens when you have team members who are not Raving Fans.

When you don't have Raving Fan Co-workers, then:

their work ethic is lower,
their will to engage and truly get the job done is lower,
their capacity to hang in during tough times is lower,
their general buy-in is lower,
their personal investment is lower,
their ability to represent (faithfully) the organization is lower,

their conflict over mission, values and culture is higher,
their resistance to innovation and change is higher,
their likelihood to engage in strategies and tactics of their own preference is higher,
their tendency to do "their own thing" is higher,
their dis-engagement with the organization is higher,
their grumbling, criticizing and complaining is higher,

and this list could go on and on and on and on . . .

unmotivated to work   just a jobIn one sense, this is simply human nature. When you love your organization all the positives are better and all the weaknesses you would bring are lower.  When you DO NOT love the organization, then all the positives are lower and all the weaknesses are heightened.

While it is human nature to deal with this matter, it is bad leadership NOT to deal with it and NOT to do something about it.

I have experienced this from both the leadership side of an organization as well as the followership side. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen substantially lower performance and results from workers who are not Raving Fans. It is very hard to address performance issues with them. The issue is, partially, their fundamental motivation and interest. It is somewhat fruitless to deal with performance issues when motivation is the problem.

We have all been in the situation of leading others who are just doing a job. That is all it is. A job. It pays the bills. It gives them something to do. It gives them a place to work. But they are not fundamentally there for the sake of the organization. They are there for their own purposes and their own thing. 

Over the years I have had numerous conversations with people who approach me about doing "their own thing" in the church. They want me to create an opportunity for them to do what they want to do. In almost every case I say, "No thank-you." It is not about you doing what you want to do. That is a recipe for chaos, mission drift, vision leak and generally poor results. It is ALWAYS about individuals doing what the organization needs them to do that is fully in line with and advancing of the mission, values and strategic objectives of the organization. 

As our North American culture has become highly individualistic and excessively self-obsessed, more and more people pursue work and vocation in terms of - what's in it for me.

As our North American culture has become dominantly "entitlement driven," more and more people see organizations as serving one's personal interests and do not naturally think in terms of how they exist for the sake of the organization. President Kennedy's statement, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" has virtually disappeared as a mindset.

What that means is EMPLOYERS should never assume workers are Raving Fans who see themselves existing for the sake of the organizational mission. A lot of work will be needed. That is the focus of tomorrow's post.

Brian K.Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International