Engineering success through inspiration

Being a leader requires many, many, skills. From managerial skills, to people skills, leaders need to be able to juggle a multitude of tasks. But one job trumps all the others.

Leaders need to inspire passion.

Today we hit a new record at Squadron 102, we have 33 listed members in our group, 20 of them active. Wow! Now, not only do I manage a squadron and all of the logistics that come with it, a 1 ton van, and brokering the procurement of an additional 8 people, plus a plane; but at any given time, I am managing 20+ people!

I’ve thought long and hard about what my responsibilities are. And the honest truth. I can’t do it all myself. Question, how do you get others to willingly volunteer their time to an activity full of red tape with very little physical reward?

Engineering Success

Over the past couple weeks, I have been exploring the idea of engineering success. Success isn’t some myth that only few happen to catch. Success is calculated, planned, and executed upon. Granted, this all depends on your definition of success, not every one is going to have a $100 Million dollar exit. But something that seems common, success is built from the support of a team of people who are all emotionally vested in achieving a common goal.

As part of creating a successful execution plan, it is extremely important to rally others to the cause. We all know we work harder when we are passionate about something. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent on my hobbies. Civil Air Patrol gives me energy, it fulfills one of my passions, that of teaching and mentoring others. So finding a basis for my passion is easy. When a leader inspires passion in their team, something magical happens. The energy coming from the top is multiplied, suddenly the power of one becomes the ability of many, anything is possible.

Therefore, a leader must Inspire Passion 

 So how do we start moving things forward. We have a team, and we have passion, now we need a plan. I see over and over again that people work best when they have achievable goals, both internally and externally. If you haven’t been introduces to the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals, here is a crash course. SMART goals stands for

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound
  • (For more information see Wikipedia)

By creating goal lists that focus on an individuals work AND personal goals, a strong tie is connected between personal success and group success. Team members are held accountable for their goal by the team, and together, they are motivated to continue improving.

Let’s look at a real world open ended example. At Squadron 102, I am instituting a requirement that each and every member, seniors and cadets, including myself, come up with a public list of SMART goals. This will lead to us building an action plan for each person. My goal is to combine the internal and external goals of my members to bring them closure together as a team, motivate them to progress through the program, and most of all, let them have fun while doing so. We’ll see how that goes…

My thinking is, by setting goals for people within CAP, as well as within their own lives, I can convey my belief that success can be engineered, and together we can achieve more. I will follow up as time goes on, but so far, everyone seems open to the idea.

I love what I do, and I’m filled with passion. If I can transfer my passion to another, inspire them to explore, create, or do something good, then I achieved my job as a leader.

“Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.”

-Vince Lombbardi

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