Monthly Archives: July 2009

Symbols work, but few use them at work

As much as I am an optimist, I know that our business world is in a funk. Here is the thing, it is summer and my optimism grows when the sun shines in Vancouver. So if you want to gain that positive momentum back into your work place here is one trick in the leadership trade: Use symbols that support who you want to be and where you want to go. They work to focus and encourage the positive. When done well, they become a point of celebration and encourage progress.

Four great reasons to use symbols:
•    Motivational
•    Fun
•    Values re-enforcing
•    Unites

Ax Handle

Key things for successful symbol implementation:
1.    Be right for the group and the organization
2.    Have a story
3.    Leader shares the story and builds the process
4.    Award it to those that epitomize its symbolism
5.    Build a routine
6.    Look for opportunities for the team members to champion the process
7.    Select things that need to be celebrated

The video tells a story of two different approaches that football teams have used to encourage and celebrate what they wanted to be. Sports teams do this the best in my experience and that is why I use their stories. We can do this at work; it will just be a different symbol, one that is right for you and your team.
Screaming Eagles – D Line
Golden Bears – Defence

Others who have posted on symbols:

Leadership and Symbols By Robert Behn


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