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  • Writer's pictureJohn Hightower

/ Paddlers, Passengers, Pirates

// PART 3

John Hightower



Have you ever found yourself thinking: “I wonder if my employees get it?” “Do the people on my team understand where we are going and how we’re going to get there?” Or maybe, “why don't they bring the same level of passion to work that I do?”

I’ve found myself pondering these questions. I’ve also found that the reason I haven’t always answered favorably is staring back at me in the mirror.

Our team has recently tripled in size over two quarters. Yes, we selected solid team members with strong EQ and IQ skills. Yes, our onboarding laid the foundation of vision, values and standards. I’ve found that a regular rhythm that continues to encourage your team keeps the team on course with the vision for the voyage.


Horst Schulze, founder of the Ritz-Carlton, mentor, and friend challenges me frequently on various topics. One concept that he continues to hammer home is the necessity of bringing the vision of our organization to every team meeting.

If your team doesn't know why your organization exists and where it is going then they aren't going to paddle in sync or to the best of their abilities.

As the leader it’s up to you to cast vision consistently and creatively. Continuing to communicate vision captures the attention of our employees. It shows your team members how important vision is to you. It’s one thing to have their hands and head. Capturing their heart is an entirely different thing. It is the force multiplier that engages the employee at a deeper level. Thinking through a framework of hand, head and hearts, might help you engage your team at a deeper level:

HEART Are you helping them connect to the Vision of the Organization?


How might you work with your team to engage them to help improve the organization?


Have you connected your team member’s regular activities to the

organization's objectives?


Throughout my career, I’ve had the honor of working with and reporting to some great

leaders. In my opinion there was a common denominator - passion about the organization’s vision. They all had different strengths, but their passion for the vision was a driving force. Remember - passion propels people.

As leaders, we must hoist the mast of purpose and passion for our organization. That mast, the vision, is what will move our ship in the correct direction creating a successful voyage. When we voyage together with purpose and passion, our team responds - paddling together.


If you're reading this and wondering where we started, you can check out part one here and part two here!

Check back next week for part 4 of Paddlers, Passengers, Pirates!


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