Creating Inspiration, part 3: Ask people to choose

In this time of change, your ability to create inspiration is essential — both to attract people to your project and inspire them to do more.

There is no one ‘right’ way of doing this. But every inspiring vision is built from the same seven basic building blocks. And the third of these blocks is to ask people to make a choice: are they with you — or not?

At first sight it might seem to make sense to push everyone to say, “Yes.”

But the more you push people to support you, the more you will have to convince them, again and again, every time a new issue arises. This will sap your time and energy. And in this time of change there will be many issues to deal with…

Far better to share your vision with people in a way that inspires them to make it their own. Then ask them to choose: are they with you or not?

If they decide to go with you then you know that you can count on their committed support, no matter what happens, because now they have a priority which aligns with yours. Now they will be able to solve the issues that arise without needing constant input from you.

And if they choose “No” then you have saved yourself from many future distractions.

The CEOs of Unilever and Apple both understand this. In recent years both have effectively told their 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 constant drain on their time, energy, and resources. And in a time of global change, this is time, energy, and resources that they cannot afford to waste.

The same applies to managers, employees, customers, and anyone 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 can inspire people to  realise that they are longing to travel with you through the uncertainties of this churning world, the more you will build a team that doesn’t question every step of the way but instead works to find the opportunities in every problem that arises.

This is another step to making you, and them, antifragile.

In your work life and in your personal life, have you actively chosen the direction you are travelling? Are you and the people around you truly committed to the path you are following? If not, then what would it be like if you all were committed and inspired to walk this path together?

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

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(And remember: you can’t learn to swim just by reading about swimming, you also have to do the practice.)

Photo By Quinn Dombrowski via

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