At Holborn Assets we’ve talked before about the importance of instilling a sense of purpose in our teams. One of the most important reasons why purpose is so important is that it leads to action – and so here we’re looking how the best leaders inspire action in others.

First, let’s look at how a powerfully communicated purpose can inspire action – in both your teams, or in the following example, in potential customers. There is a fascinating TED talk by Simon Sinek – who wrote ‘Start With Why’ – that suggests that many companies are actually doing things the wrong way around when it comes to marketing themselves.

Move people to act

Sinek gives Apple as an example of how inspiring people to act – in this case customers – should be done. So, rather than telling people that they make beautiful computers, listing their benefits and asking us to buy them, Apple instead talk about their company’s purpose. They talk about how they do things differently – their purpose – and how that inspires them to create great computers. This in turn inspires customers to buy them, and the most talented people to want to work for them – and so everyone is moved to act by this powerful sense of purpose rather than by a shopping list of what the company does.

The power of storytelling

Motivating people with the power of your company’s purpose is a great way to inspire others to act – but it’s not the only way. In fact, this first idea of getting people to work towards a higher purpose links to another powerful tool that we can all use as leaders to inspire our teams to act – storytelling. If your company purpose is the ‘why’ of what you do as a business, then using storytelling with your teams can be the ‘how’ of how you get there. If you’ve effectively communicated your purpose to your teams, then you already have a goal – or in the narrative sense of a story, a ‘quest’. It’s a brighter, better future, for your teams and the customers they help every day – but there are challenges you’ll all need to work together to overcome.

So, the crucial thing here is that when you communicate with your teams in this way, you give them a call to action in the form of a clear and compelling set of practical things that they can do to make your company’s story one that has a happy ending.

As leaders, it is our job to inspire action in our people with a powerful story about the purpose behind what they do every day. Fail to do this, and ultimately you’ll fail to move your business forward in any meaningful way.