A number of years ago, the managing director of a region asked his team – “Things have been going well. We’re #1 in the country. We’ve got great sales numbers, and great profits. We have a great team.”

He allowed a moment for everyone to congratulate themselves, then asked “With things going so well for the last two years, how do we avoid complacently? Do we need to create a galvanizing event?”

This leader was of the highest integrity, not the type to suggest that his people lie. However, he recognized that people often begin to get complacent when things are going too well for too long, and as such, was willing to suggest we create a challenge to motivate his people.
Strong leaders know how to keep their people focused on continuing to make the company great. To keep your people from getting complacent, especially in the good times, a good manager will find or create a cause to rally around.

Roslyn Carter once said, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

In the absence of an event, a team can prepare for an event – ask yourself “what if you lost your largest client and 30% of your business tomorrow?”

A galvanizing event is the kind of event that requires a huge shift in thinking. It makes you rethink everything about the current process. It causes the team to evaluate and ask “why?” Why you are doing things the way you are doing them? Why are you using that resource? Why can’t you do it another way? Why can’t we be better? Why can’t we be the best?

Consultants are often a great resource to support the conversations. With the experience across industries and companies, consultants like those at the CORTAC Group have the breadth and depth to ask probing questions, identify opportunities, and engage leaders to think beyond their normal day to day tasks.

The conversation need not span the enterprise; a galvanizing event can be within a department. The important thing is the challenge should excite people, be something that can set your organization apart. It must be something that will cause people to evaluate what they do, how they do it, why they do it, problem solve, solution, and bring people together.

To rise to the top, a leader should be thinking of these scenarios, asking questions, and preparing her people to overcome the challenges they will face. She’ll be thinking about open communication, identifying key people to help her develop and create the new strategy, planning, managing the change to her people, and execution of the strategy.

Does your organization need a galvanizing event?