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Make 2011 Your Year for Creating Waves

Mary Rosenbaum | January 4th, 2011

You are sitting in a stadium watching a football or baseball game and suddenly, as if on cue, everyone around you stands up at the same time moving their arms up and down in a wave-like motion. At one time or another many of us have been part of a Wave. How did you know when to stand? Who started it and where did it start?

Oftentimes Waves start somewhere in the nosebleed section by an avid fan who wants to communicate his passion for the team and his encouragement for them to win. It sounds impossible, but this lone fan sitting way up there can start a movement that spreads throughout an entire stadium.

The interesting thing about a Wave is that someone starts it somewhere in a stadium, then he/she leads others into a huge movement and then disappears almost immediately. Our lone person was leading from the back of the stadium and once the movement passed, sat down with everybody else.

The steps it takes to start a successful Wave and send it out to the rest of the stadium are similar to the way leaders operate in the real world. True leadership is about inspiring others to take the lead, taking the idea wherever it needs to go to move it forward.

To lead or start a movement or a Wave you have to be willing to take a stand, believe in what you are doing, put some passion behind your idea, and let others take over when the time is right.

Dov Seidman, in his book How, describes the anatomy of a Wave and how it relates to true leadership. Here are some actions you can take to enable you to lead from wherever you are in the room or the stadium.

1. Reach out to your tribe. Those closest to you can be early supporters or followers of your cause. A Wave starts by someone first enlisting those seated closest to him. Because they are closer they can see what he is doing better and can determine what he hopes to achieve earlier than anyone else in the stadium. One lone person can build momentum and greater visibility in a large stadium only if he gets a group of people to stand up with him at the outset. This greater visibility enables the Wave to spread faster and last longer.

As an executive or entrepreneur, reaching out to those who can support your cause or idea in its early stages helps you build the momentum you need to spread acceptance. These early supporters provide you with greater credibility and visibility. They help spread your idea and in many instances even improve upon it as the idea moves forward.

2. Share your vision. Communicate clearly and be transparent about what it is you are trying to accomplish. Our lone person’s vision is to see his team win. By communicating to those around him either verbally or through his physical actions, this lone person successfully lets them know what it is he wants to accomplish. Your vision might be to make your department first in innovation, provide a new way to market your firm’s services, begin working virtually with your clients, or simply introduce a new way of doing what you do rather than the way it’s always been done before. Whatever it is, communicating clearly to those around you helps them see the big picture and more importantly, how they might be able to help you achieve your goals. There is greater buy in when everyone has clarity on where you want to go.

3. Make sure you are enlisting people in a common purpose – they have to like what you stand for and what you want to accomplish. I think we can agree that in the case of the stadium there are probably a fair number of fans rooting for the home team. The common cause or purpose is to help their team win and who would not want to take part in doing that? The Wave is an expression of support and encouragement and lets the team know their fans are behind them.

When others are aligned with your vision, that is great. But you will only achieve this goal if your purpose, the how of getting there, resonates with those to whom you reach out.

Leading no longer requires being in front of the room or at the top of the corporate pyramid. It takes vision, purpose, passion, communication, and enlisting your tribe of supporters.

Make 2011 your year for starting successful Waves.

Just wanted to mention that my blog at Your Career by Design was listed in the top 10 for Personal Branding. There are other great resources available on this list. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

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