The Power of Vision


The last couple of weeks we've watched candidates for the Presidency attempt, before huge live and television crowds, to lay out their vision. They want our votes, they offer change and they use vision as a way to try and separate themselves from one another.


Vision needs to be an important part of your leadership. Vision is a picture. It's a picture of the future with implicit (or sometimes explicit) commentary on why people should strive (work hard or at least support you) to create that future.

Many times we leaders get so caught up in the drone of the mundane we forget the power of vision. So why should leaders always embrace vision? Here are my thoughts and I'd enjoy hearing yours:

  1. Vision simplifies things. It helps people shape hundreds or thousands of detailed decisions. In a sense, it gives them a grid or an umbrella or a funnel that leads them to do their jobs better. When Southwest Airlines decides to be the "low cost carrier" that vision drives the whole business and the myriad of daily decisions employees need to make.
  2. Vision motivates people. Even if the first steps are awkward, or personally painful vision motivates people to move in the right direction. JFK's urgent visioning message to reach the moon wasn't executed perfectly initially, but we got there. People were motivated by a higher calling, a sense of direction and purpose. If you don't continually preach your vision message, people will slip into unmotivated patterns.
  3. Vision coordinates people. No, this doesn't mean that suddenly all your people will be world class athletes, it means that the actions of different people, different departments, different silos can be coordinated under one central core message and direction. Vision can make your organization fast and efficient if all the people clearly understand where you want the organization to go.

So how do you get there? You start with clarity. People will always disagree on direction, or tactics. Or, they'll be confused. It's your job as a leader to clarify the direction of change and help your people understand the "why" behind the vision. With clarity of direction and an understanding of the why behind the direction the inability of people to make decisions disappears. One simple question — is this in line with our vision? — can help eliminate hours, and even months of endless discussion.

In the end, authoritarian decree and micromanagement serve only to reinforce the status quo. Vision is one of the most successful ways to break the barriers, align your people and move forward to growth.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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