As a leader, one of the most common questions I get asked is “what’s your vision?” It’s a great question and one I love to answer. I know that what the person is asking me is “what does the future look like for you and your organization?” “Where are you taking us?” “If we follow you what will our destination look like?” It’s a question that every person in leadership must be able to answer, so leader, think through it. If you are asking a leader and they are not able to answer this question, then you need to really consider if you are going to follow them with their leadership or not. After all, don’t you want to know where you will end up if you follow them?
1. Prepare The Answer
As a leader, you must set aside time to think about the future; vision thinking. Unfortunately, most leaders spend very little time thinking forward because they are so busy with the moment. Successful leaders spend a lot of time in the future in their thoughts and their plans. As a leader, I set aside time each week to do this: hours, not just a few moments. Leaders often tell me that they don’t have time to sit and conceptualize the vision on a weekly bases. My response is simply that if you stay on that track of thinking, you will have plenty of time in the near future. Businesses close because of this. Organizations move on and hire new leaders because of this. Either invest the time now or you will quickly discover that you won’t need to worry about the future with your current leadership position. (I personally set aside most of one day a week for conceptualizing vision.)
2. Always Communicate Vision
Never ever, pass up a time to communicate vision. Every time you speak, every letter you write, every email you send, should be saturated with vision. Too often, as leaders, we think that once we have spoken vision a few times, or perhaps put it on the wall for all to read, that people get it. They don’t! As a leader, you need to speak and tie everything to vision so much that you think people are going to get sick of hearing you speak it. About the time you feel like they are sick of it, they might just begin to grasp a small part of it. It’s not that people are dumb, it’s that they are distracted with so many other things bombarding their lives. They are not waking up every morning thinking about your vision. (However, if you are a leader you’d better be!!!)
3. Make It Tangible
Once you are able to clearly state where you are going, you’d better be able to tell them how you are going to get there. Vision casting is hard work, hard work that becomes a joy for leaders and pays off big time. It’s not simply dreaming. It’s so much more. Vision casting is being able to paint a picture of a preferable future and help others to see it as though it has already come to pass. It is being able to show them the benefits, the “what’s in it for me” as they get on board and join you in the journey. It’s being able to give them tangible ways they can be a part and how to help them see how they are needed
Of the 3 ways successful leaders focus on the future, which one do you need to work on the most? Which one does the leader of your organization need to focus on the most?
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