My bike is so great that it makes me want to be a better rider.
What does this have to do with leadership?
In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell shared the Broken Windows Theory which emphasizes the power of context. (when broken windows were fixed, crime went down)
At my current job, each member of our small team brought in a poster that inspired us and we hung them in our common area. They spark energy and fun.
Context is everything, isn't it? I am not suggesting that the key to high performance is spending more money on nice things, but I am saying that when we admire our surroundings and when we feel good about our resources, we hold ourselves accountable to do better.
It's not a sure thing - spruce things up to perform better - but if the sprucing up touches us emotionally it will have a greater impact.
Organize a team Spring cleaning.
Hang some art.
Organize your office.
Create a shared reading library.
Re-do the bulletin board.
Bring in a few plants.
Meet in the "nice" meeting room.
You can also spruce up the mind - encourage bigger thinking by acknowledging and highlighting your team's ideas. Spruce up your listening and those you are listening to will show up in a bigger way.
The possibilities are endless and many don't cost a dime to implement. My bike on the other hand....well.... she's totally worth it (yes, my bike is a she and her name is Blaze). Here's a pic. Makes me smile.