A compelling saga
In their book High Altitude Leadership: What the World's Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us About Success, Chris Warner and Don Schmincke explore the issue of how leaders create and sustain greatness in spite of the selfish human program that pushes every leadership theory off the cliff during implementation. In a book excerpt published as the first article in the December 2008 Wharton Leadership Digest:
..they write, addressing their question: "Humans need a compelling saga: a story or drama that inspires passion for a strategic result, a passion that overwhelms the selfishness common in humans." They go on to say that a saga:
- Has a dramatic theme to achieve an ideal or fulfill a purpose.
- Sets a goal that's difficult to achieve, a challenging summit that needs to be conquered
- Is captured in language that drives performance, values, and strategic focus even in the face of risk, sacrifice, or pain.
- Sets the context of how success (or failure) will be defined.
- Focuses people on strategic results, not selfish, territorial, gossipy, soap operas.
- Although a brief statement, spawns stories and legends that permeate an organization's culture.
What's your saga for your organization? Think about how you keep your team focused as they move to the later stages of their project.