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Maxims from Mike - People follow leaders who have a clear & compelling vision of the future.

Hello Leaders,

Welcome to Today. This week's Leadership and Personal Development tip is about "vision".

Maxim: Where there is no vision, the people perish. - Prov 29. 18a KJV

According to Kouzes and Posner, authors of the Leadership Challenge, exceptional leaders inspire a shared vision. "Leaders gaze across the horizon of time, imagining the attractive opportunities that are in store when they and their constituents arrive at a distant destination. They envision exciting and ennobling possibilities. However, leaders cannot command commitment, only inspire it. Leaders breathe life into the hope and dreams of others and enable them to see the exciting possibilities that the future holds. Leaders forge a unity of purpose by showing constituents how the dream is for the common good."

It is imperative that leaders paint a clear and vivid picture of the future they envision. A fuzzy vision equates to fuzzy implementation that brings about confusion. John F. Kennedy was very clear when he shared his vision with the country (landing a man on the moon and returning him safely before the decade is out). At the time, he did not know how it would be done. But he had faith that it would be accomplished. It was a bold vision.

George Eastman had a bold vision in the late 1800's to make photography as simple as using a pencil. This vision was the North Star for Kodak, the company he founded. Amazon’s corporate vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” The product does not really matter. If it can be purchased online, Amazon is the place to go. Apogee's vision is "to positively transform the world by developing exceptional & ethical leaders."

As The Marketing Blender states, "Your vision statement should be an audacious dream of a future reality based on the work you do. It should be bursting at the seams with possibility. It's where "begin with the end in mind" becomes real. It's the heart and DNA of your organization. Your vision should be so big that it feels nearly impossible. Your vision should require people to dream."

Does your vision for your organization require people to dream? Is it compelling enough to move people to inspired action? "Getting people to willingly follow you into the future requires that you passionately believe that together you can make a difference." The vision must be shared. Integris Performance Advisors recommends these six actions:

1. Talk about future trends that will influence how our work gets done.

2. Describe a compelling image of what our future could be like.

3. Appeal to others to share an exciting dream of the future.

4. Show others how their long-term interests can be realized by enlisting in a common vision.

5. Paint the "big picture" of what we aspire to accomplish.

6. Speak with genuine conviction about the higher meaning and purpose of our work.

Even if you are leading a small team, you can still craft a vision of how your team's contribution fits into the overall vision of the greater organization. Show your team how your shared dream is for the common good; it benefits the individuals, the organization, and its constituents. Help them to understand how their contributions matter. There is a unity of purpose.

In summary, leaders envision exciting and ennobling possibilities. They enlist others in a common vision. To learn more about formulating and inspiring a shared vision, please contact us. At Apogee, we work with entities to strengthen their pipeline of leaders. We specialize in strengthening the pipeline of diverse leaders. We welcome the opportunity to help you grow your team and/or you personally in the area of leadership.

That's it for now. Until the next tip....

Mike Nwankwo

Founder & CEO


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