Treat people like they are poor and they will be poor…poor in spirit, poor in performance, and poor in contributions.
Treat people like they are rich and they will be rich…rich in attitude, rich in ability, and rich in contributions.
The city of Medellin, Colombia is a living example of this leadership principle. In the 80’s and 90’s Colombia was a war zone where every day brought bombings, murder, and kidnapping. Today crime is low. Kidnapping is down 90%. In Medellin, once called the murder capital of the world, homicide is down 80%. In 2012 Time Magazine named Medellin, City of the Year.
Much of this change can be attributed to the vision of Sergio Fajadro. From 2003 to 2007 he served as Mayor of Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city. Sergio believed that the poorest areas of the city are where the grandest buildings should stand. The CBS Sunday Morning Show showcased the investments made to beautify these areas and to treat all of the city’s inhabitants as rich and valuable. The city has been rewarded with zero violence in the beautified public areas and Colombia is experiencing a surge in tourism, expecting four million tourists this year.
The leadership tip in Sergio’s vision: treat all people as rich and they will prove their value.
A rich person is valued for the contributions they are able to make. Here are the steps to help the people you lead to be rich contributors to your organization.
1. Discover each person's richness by exploring their strengths and abilities. Talk with them about how they contribute value and can help the organization reach it goals.
2. Set expectations that tap individual strengths and abilities in ways that are both challenging and achievable.
3. Hold them accountable to those expectations by redirecting when necessary and congratulating when successful.
Using these steps will help the people you lead to know their value and be rich contributors to the success of your organization. Maintaining a focus on what makes people rich will create limitless value for you, your organization, and the people you lead.
Background on Sergio Fajardo and Medellin, Colombia was found on a September 2014 edition of the CBS Sunday Morning Show, an October 2010 thedailybeast.com article and a July 2007 New York Times article.