— Lance Secretan
Welcome to our interview with Lance Secretan, Founder and CEO of The Secretan Center. Lance is a former Fortune 100 company CEO and is a pioneering philosopher whose bestselling books, inspirational talks, and life-changing retreats have touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. He is the author of 22 books about leadership, inspiration, corporate culture and entrepreneurship.
In his latest book, The Bellwether Effect: Stop Following. Start Inspiring!, he proposes a theory that explains how and why leaders are attracted to, and seduced by, trendy ideas, and the process by which these ideas then become mainstream — and how we can change it.
I’m Bill Fox, Co-founder here at Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Lance Secretan today.
Lance, welcome to this forum and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of Exploring the Forward-Thinking Workplace.
How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
Lance Secretan: The first thing we need to understand is to stop focusing on the processes and mechanics of the business quite as firmly as we have and quantifying everything.
We need to move things up a notch, so we are 1) inspiring — all the time, and 2) understand the larger picture of what we’re doing.
We just don’t make widgets. We actually try to do something important in the world and how does that transpire and how does it affect the world? I think Starbucks has done a terrific job of doing that. They aren’t just making coffee. They’re creating a “third place.” That’s their dream.
What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
Lance: That’s funny you ask that question. I’m not sure we need to do that. I think we need to get leaders full attention. If we’ve got leaders full attention, then I think the employees would be fully engaged and there wouldn’t be an issue. I think if a leader can’t get the attention of the employees, that’s a leadership problem — not an employee problem. The leader needs to really understand how to inspire and serve people, which is a subject we’ll talk about a bit more in a minute.
As I said in the book, everybody’s afraid at every level. Leaders are afraid they’re going to get ripped off by employees, get called out by shareholders, or by the press, or who knows. Maybe they groped somebody 30 years ago and don’t even remember it because they were in high school at the time and so on. There’s no idea how many people wake up today wondering what’s going to happen and would I survive the day. Well, we need to take that away. That’s one of the things that hold us up. You can’t perform at a high level if you’re always frightened.
Note: This is a preview of the full interview. The complete interview was selected by Apress for publication and continues in The Future of the Workplace.