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Rally your people like Churchill did
Sep 4, 2018  |  Kenelm Tonkin

I watched the film Dunkirk over the weekend.

Towards the end of the movie, one of the soldiers read newspaper reportage of Churchill's We Shall Fight On The Beaches speech delivered to the House of Commons.

In a spell-binding 12 minutes later recorded in audio, Churchill does four things:

  1. He declares a disaster and makes clear the complete gravity of German domination over Europe which he describes as a colossal threat. He says victory is not built on evacuations such as Dunkirk. There is no spin, no unrealistic sugar coating. It's raw and unvarnished honesty. It gives voice to the fears of a nation;
  2. He then takes the time to identify and accentuate hidden promise. He shares an insider's view, takes people into his confidence, to reveal emerging British air capability against superior numbers that bodes well for the future, a fact that people may have underappreciated;
  3. He then pivots to unify all listeners with those words of indefatigable defiance, 'we will fight them" here and "we will fight them" there. It's dogged repetition to imbue people with a sense of resolve. This was the most moving and inspirational passage;
  4. And finally, he helps to strengthen a sense of victory by offering the two additional lifelines of the vast resources of the British Empire itself and, ultimately, the United States which had yet even entered the War.

Now this speech was delivered in extraordinary times.

However, you can use this speech outline as a model within your business to rally your team around a common cause when things are tough.

  • State the problem clearly;
  • Highlight what they are doing well or where potential is shown;
  • Deliver a call to action;
  • Assure them with back-up plans.

Try this, and let me know if it has the desire effect.