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 to attract people to your project and to motivate them to deliver results.

There is no fixed template for how you do this, but every inspiring vision is formed from the same basic ingredients or building blocks.

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

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

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

If they then decide “Yes,” you know you can count on their committed support, no matter what happens. And if they say “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 managers, employees, customers, and anybody else whose support you need: are they on the bus or off the bus? Will they lead, follow, or get out of the way?

The more you inspire people to want to travel with you through an imperfect, churning world, the more you will build a team that actively works to find the opportunities in every problem that arises, instead of questioning each step of the way.

How committed currently are you to the work you do? Have you decided to be on the bus, off the bus, or are you not sure? What about the people you work with — how committed are they? And what would happen if you changed any of that?

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

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Photo By Quinn Dombrowski via

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