Creating Inspiration, part 3: ask people to choose

Yes and No labels

In a time of change, your ability to create inspiration is essential: both for attracting people to your project and for motivating them to deliver results.

There is no single ‘right’ way to do this but every inspiring vision is formed from the same basic building blocks.

The third of these building blocks is to ask your audience to make a choice: will they support you?

It might seem to make sense to push everyone as hard as you can to get them to say “Yes.” But the more you steamroller people into supporting you now, the more effort you will have to put into convincing them again later, every time an issue arises. And in these times of change there will be many issues…

Far better to share your vision in an inspiring way, explain why it is their vision too, and then let them make up their own minds.

If they decide “Yes” then you know that you can count on their committed support, no matter what happens. If they choose “No” then you have saved yourself a lot of trouble.

The CEOs of Unilever and Apple both understand this. In recent years both have effectively said to shareholders:

“This is where we are going. If you don’t like it, sell your stock.”

They know that investors who are not committed to travelling the same path with them will be a drain on their time and energy. And in a time of change, that is energy and time they cannot afford to waste.

The same applies to your managers, employees, customers, and anybody else whose support you need: are they on your bus or off your bus? Will they lead, follow, or get out of the way?

Ask people to choose whether they are committed. And the more you inspire people to want to travel with you through this imperfect, churning world, the more you will build a team that actively works to find the opportunities in each problem instead of questioning every step of the way.

How committed are you to the work you do? Have you decided whether you are on the bus, off the bus, or not sure? What about the people around you? What would happen if you changed any of that?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Quinn Dombrowski via

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