Successful leadership entails having a vision that your constituents can get behind. “Without vision, a people perish” rings true in any endeavor and more so when it comes to leadership.
It is the “why” behind what you do–the compass that keeps you in the right path when distractions try to derail you. It is what keeps you grounded when the culture around you changes.
I Have A Dream…
Dreams and imaginations are important elements of vision-casting. Adults can and should still exercise their imaginations when it comes to their organizations and even everyday opportunities for leadership. Take for example Martin Luther King, Jr. The words (and life) of Dr. King exemplified vision and action working powerfully together:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
He had a dream that was bigger than himself and moved people to action. While there is still much to be done in our pursuit of equality, Dr. King’s vision lives on in the different groups that continue the work he began.
Don’t Keep It To Yourself
Give your vision legs by communicating it. Articulate your vision simply and clearly. If your vision doesn’t move you, it’s likely that it won’t inspire others either. As you unpack and communicate your vision and values, it will attract the right kind of team who will support your cause even if it means challenging you from time to time. Often, talking about the vision helps make your dream come alive.
Some practical benefits of having a solid vision include:
- Having a good understanding of why your team/company/organization/business exists and which direction to take it
- Making it easier to build your team who will live and work inspired under your leadership
- Allowing your vision to define values, thereby streamlining your operations and decision-making
Vision-casting is more than predicting what the next big thing is (although that could be a part of it), but more importantly, it is what drives you and your team to act to create the future that you want. It is what will sustain your leadership for the long haul.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch