The 3 Parts of Successful Movements
Great leaders inspire people to follow them into unpredictable, seemingly impossible situations. Think revolutionaries like Martin Luther King Jr. or Che’ Guevara or business leaders like Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. They brought people into new ages– they challenged the norm and created new realities. They helped them overcome obstacles and fear in order to change for the better. So, how can we harness the type of engagement and true inspiration these leaders possessed? Nancy Duarte from Harvard Business Review
wrote a truly insightful article on this very topic of learning how to engage our organizations into reinvention. She found that this process looks a lot like the three acts of a good story: a beginning, a middle, and an end– and of course there is conflict and victory peppered in there as well.
- The Beginning: Duarte writes, “In the beginning, you share your dream with others and persuade them to take a leap into the unknown.” The first step in creating something worthwhile is creating your vision and then inspiring others to join in. You can’t go at it alone. People need other people. So you become that spark and your people will help you burn brighter than ever before. Whatever it is you hope to achieve, you’ll need others to help you along the way. They can add to your vision, improving it at each step of the way. The next step is to engage your team to new heights. Inspire them to create and strive for both short term and long term goals. Help them realize new responsibilities and productivity. That can seem like a daunting task, but when you deliver a compelling and vivid plan of action they will want to jump in.
- The Middle: In a good story, this stage is where the tension usually comes forth. This is where you challenge the norm and break down barriers. It’s where you think outside the box and leave the status quo behind. Remember that a huge part of success is failure. There will be missteps and downturns. There will be hardships, but the important part is to keep moving forward. Did Steve Jobs give up when his first project failed? No! He kept going and started a tech revolution. Apple products are pretty much synonymous with modern day tech devices. Everyone knows what an Iphone or a Macbook are… Because Steve Jobs never gave up and pushed past adversity. As the leader, it is your job to constantly remind people to continue on, to get back on the metaphorical horse, so to speak. When the wear and tear of overcoming obstacles (and sometimes failing) inevitably causes some damage to morale, you have to be the one to revitalize the team– to engage and inspire them.
- The End: When your hard work finally pays off, it is time for you and all of the people who partook in the project to celebrate! You all deserve some sort of victory dance– or a victory drink, whichever you prefer. Celebrate the win before getting back to work. However, this isn’t exactly ‘the end’ the way you think of the end of a story or a movie. You’ll never completely come to a full stop. There’s no ‘roll the credits!’ There will always be room for improvement and reinvention. ‘The end’ we speak of is more of a challenge to press on. Take all the lessons you learned in the first two stages and remember them when you face yet another obstacle. Great success comes with great inspiration— and you can achieve it.