Great businesses are built through quests. Striving from one summit to another with a team wholly committed to that quest’s achievement. These quests are compelling and represent achievements that seem well beyond reach, and many times simply impossible, until the team strides out on the journey to meet and defeat that challenge.
December 2022 — January 2023
Over these next two months, we will ask you to consider one question.
Are you drawing the real potential that exists in your people, and in yourself, to the forefront and applying it to a righteous cause?
And our articles will help you answer and respond to this question.
Active Knowledge Question:
Is your team striving to achieve anything which seems beyond reach?
Why A Quest?
The core competitiveness of any business lies in the combined talent and effort of every single person working within and with that business. Mustering and focusing that core competitiveness is one of the most important roles of leadership.
In many businesses, unutilised and unrealised potential is left wanting. People are not challenged nor permitted to participate and contribute, and the work they are engaged in simply does not excite them. But if the opportunity to join in, participate openly and contribute fully to a worthy cause is provided, then creativity and imagination are fired up, and the impossible becomes possible.
Quests arise from a well-cast vision for your business. A business that exists for a purpose founded in customer need and where a great vision lifts everyone’s eyes up and to the far horizon and beyond. They are searching for how they may provide greater value into that customer need that no one has even considered yet. This is the seed of future competitiveness and the ability to stride away from your competitors.
Quests can draw unknown and untapped potential to the forefront. If you are not on a quest in your business, then it’s likely business as usual and nothing much is happening.
There is an old proverb, which appears in many different forms but goes something like this:
- If your vision is for a year — plant wheat.
- If your vision is for 10 years — plant trees.
- If your vision is for 100 years — plant people.
A quest may take many years to complete, if ever, but every step of the way, you are planting people and developing the competitive strength of your business.
What Does A Quest Look Like?
Quests are never about more profit, even though that is what they are likely to deliver when achieved. A quest is a compelling vision for the future.
A quest must be exciting, enticing, and challenging. They must inspire and draw everyone working within and with the business together and provide a shared goal to move forward. Quests represent a glue that binds and an energy that propels the business forward.
Purpose and quests go hand in hand but fulfil different roles:
- A purpose will tell you why you are here.
- The quest will point you to where you must go.
- A purpose gives you a reason for being.
- The quest gives the reason for moving.
- Purpose connects you with customer need.
- Quests connect with the future of that customer need.
- Purpose is your cornerstone.
- Quests are the next summit you are striving to reach.
One without the other weakens your business.
Quests Spark Conviction
A quest should be expressed as a clear image of where the business must move to (the summit) and is fuelled by a conviction that this is the destination to be reached.
The use of the words ‘image’ and ‘conviction’ are very telling of the character that a quest must take on. It is intended to capture the imagination, passion, enthusiasm, and energy of your entire business for an enduring period of time. It is directional but unlikely to be prescriptive as it sets the outcome (destination), not the route.
It does not involve size or profit or ego, as those are unlikely to capture the attention of the people whom you need to motivate to actually deliver on the quest.
An image can be rich, vivid, and enticing. Words can describe that image, but those words must create a picture in your mind that you can see clearly. A well-crafted story can create a 1000 images.
You hold a conviction that this is a quest not just worthy of being pursued but, rather, that it must be pursued. It is a call to action that expresses the extent to which you, as a business, are going to live out your purpose.
Conviction provides authenticity. Your quest is not something you dreamed up but is somewhere you, as a leader, sincerely believe your business must go to deliver on its purpose.
I believe a quest is best expressed in the context of an impact, for example, a world without disease. Once cast, it should endure and not be constantly changed every few years.
Quests Ignite Hearts
A quest will echo what is already in the heart. They call out what is already sought but not expressed. They are simple and portable. They are not ‘corporate nor political speak’, and they come from within those who work at the coalface, which includes leaders truly connected with their business, its purpose and the needs of its customers.
A great quest will inspire those to whom it calls to dig deep and provide them with the energy, determination and a conviction to never surrender.
They provide meaning and awe of what might be possible. A significance and life purpose, evoking an emotion underpinning a courage and faith in oneself and the team. A quest sets a journey of discovery and achievement, a journey that must be undertaken.
Visionary leaders will always set quests and unleash the energy, passion and conviction that they will muster. They are not about profit but about achieving something that simply seems impossible. They are righteous and seek to meet an unfilled need in our community.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,