There is no such thing as “overnight success,” however, there is a thing as “ten-year overnight success.” The new kid on the block or the new business on the corner that appears from obscurity suddenly turns into an overnight success! How? They seem to come out of nothing with the ‘Midas Touch.’
Incredible success appears from within them like liquid gold flowing in every direction. What the untrained eye and unsuspecting observer does not see, are the years it took to plan and believe; the courage, rejection and failure; the hard work and generosity that has gone into establishing the foundation to make it an incredible success.
As someone said, “there is no glory without a story.” Their glory cost thousands of hours of investment into their dream to build that unstoppable, unquenchable momentum.
Momentum is a very powerful thing.
Momentum is the energy of vision. All effective leaders cherish energy. Momentum flows into the vision and it produces outrageous results.
Unlike mediocrity; momentum can’t be developed in a day. It is developed daily, with consistent effort, focus, determination, passion and loyalty on the part of the leader first, and then the team.
The Leader’s Momentum
Momentum begins at the top. It starts with having a great vision, which the leader drives with conviction, passion, consistency and loyalty.
The inspirational author Eleanor Doan put it so well when she said:
“You Cannot Kindle The Fire of Vision in any Heart until it is Burning in Your Own.”
Is your heart on fire for the vision? If so, you have the Midas touch, if not, everything you touch will turn to lead.
Unless a leader begins to echo the sentiment to the vision like Kennedy and Armstrong penned it, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?” …you will be creating drag not momentum. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.
Drag is the enemy of vision. Drag opposes momentum. Imagine sticking your hand out of the window of a moving car and letting your hand fly; the force that pushes your hand back is called “drag.” Drag also produces friction (wear and tear).
Drag is unwanted because it makes the leader inefficient.
To reduce drag and increase efficiency… like a plane, leaders must streamline. Wheels of planes are tucked in to reduce drag. Unless a leader streamlines his focus and has an aerodynamic approach to the vision and goals, he will be the source of drag and inefficiency. When the engines of a plane quit, drag slows the plane down, and without momentum, the plane descends.
How can a leader build momentum and get his team flying?
Firstly… have a Compelling Crystal Clear Vision – one he completely believes in and wants to achieve immediately.
Secondly… a leader must Enthusiastically Communicate this with drive, determination and passion to all stakeholders. He must guide everyone within the team to not only support it, but to completely buy into the vision on an emotional level.
Unless a leader owns the vision emotionally, he can never compel his team to take ownership. As he champions the vision, leading from the front with courage, passion, enthusiasm and real energy, his team will support him with equal vigour.
Slowly but surely, the team will gather momentum.
Without momentum, even a tiny obstacle can block him from moving forward. With momentum, he will break through problems without barely even noticing them.
A train travelling at 150km on a railroad can crash through a 1.5 meter thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. However, that same train starting from a stationary position will not be able to go through a 10cm thick block in front of the driving wheel.
The same is true with a team. It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It’s a lack of momentum.
A leader must steer the ship with enthusiasm every second of every day. In this way he will gradually attract the same from all his people and he will start to see progress.
Below are some practical suggestions on how a leader can build the Big Mo:
Momentum Maker #1. Laser Sharp Focus
A leader must have an aerodynamic approach to his leadership if he desires to generate momentum.
That means he must FOCUS on creating an understanding of the vision statement and follow-through strategy.
By attempting to do everything, and by attempting to be everything to everyone, a leader drains momentum.
Momentum Maker #2. Back to the Future
When a leader focuses on the bigger and brighter future, he increases the internal combustion of the organisation.
Focusing on a better tomorrow will not always be received with enthusiasm. Certain people are preoccupied with the past and will cause drag and friction when they are challenged to let go of it for a better future.
I love this quote, “Losers yearn for the past and get stuck in it. Winners learn from the past and let go of it.”
A leader must be on the winning side!
Momentum Maker #3. Operate As a Team
Nothing destroys momentum faster than individualism.
Teamwork is catalytic.
Unless numerous people are allowed to fight and claim the victory, momentum can never grow. A great leader has everyone on his team, involved according to their strengths. The level of celebration on a team depends upon the level of participation.
Momentum Maker #4. Creative Juice
One of the greatest setbacks to progress is holding on to what worked in the past.
A great hindrance to creativity is the mindset that says, “that’s how we have always done it.”
Jack Dixon said it this way, “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”
Unless a leader is willing to let go of past ideas, and past people, momentum will be severely compromised.
Momentum maker #5. Fiery Passion
Passion is contagious. Passion energises.
Nothing is more disheartening to vision than a leader without passion.
Passion drives the execution of vision into the dimension of excellence. Mediocre leaders are passionless.
Passion is the fuel to innovation. Passion provides the courage to drive the innovation to completion.
Two people with passion can outperform one million people with none.
Momentum Maker #6. Lead With Integrity
Integrity cannot be faked. Integrity cannot be built overnight.
The leader of integrity builds trust. Trustworthy leaders have a much easier time generating momentum than leaders with a reputation of being manipulative and deceitful.
Momentum Maker #7. Don’t Conform – Innovate
Change is difficult. It demands sacrifice, but change is required to build momentum.
Sticking with the status quo won’t create an ounce of momentum. Conformity is the enemy of change and momentum.
Momentum Maker #8. Lead with Gratitude
No one can claim to be a self-made success.
Whatever accomplishments we attain in life have connections to the goodwill and support of those around us.
When we express thankfulness for the benefits bestowed upon us by friends, mentors, etc. those people are more apt to aid us again in the future.
Gratitude will prevent a generous person from exiting your life.
Expressing gratitude and showing appreciation is a momentum maximiser.
Momentum Maker #9. Take Action
It’s not the leader who comes up with the ideas, but the leader who has the tenacity and discipline to make ideas happen. That is what’s impressive!
At times a leader will have to act without having all the information or resources. Momentum and risk-taking go hand in hand.
Work to remove all demotivating factors from within your team or organisation.
Move to the next step, which is to find ways to inspire every member in your team.
Celebrate all individual and team accomplishments. The more you recognise and honour the individuals within your teams, those who consistently keep the ball moving forward; the more they will want to perform themselves. You will encourage everyone to perform at their best.