“The most successful leader of all is the one who sees a picture not yet actualised. He invents the things which belong in his present picture but which are not yet there” US political scientist Mary Parker Follett once wrote. And she's right because if you don't know where you are going and can't see it, how are you going to get there?
WIIFM will capture hearts
Followers actually want a leader with a compelling vision of the future and research shows they respond to a leader who can articulate a vision reflecting their own aspirations. It needs to be engaging, capture their hearts and get them to pay attention. Those who hear it should want to be a part of it.
So what does your vision of the future look like – what's the image? When you make colleagues travel with you, what will they see? Will they be able to visualize it, remember and make an effort to achieve it?
Inspiration the name of the game
Great leaders provide inspiring visions and passionately believe they can make a difference by inspiring people to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible. You must be able to provide a clear picture of a change beyond the horizon with a realistic image of what could become. Only then can you with your attitude get people enthusiastic and passionate about playing their role in reaching your destination.
What does you vision look like?
Once all your colleagues have a vision of your aims and goals you can set out to reach them. It is a bit like the old saying: “If you don’t know where you’re going, then for sure you won’t get there.” Warren Bennis says of vision: To choose a direction, an executive must first have developed a mental image of the possible and desirable future state of the organisation.
Make others want to be part of your vision
The best way to impact others is to convey your vision in a dramatic and enduring way. If you bore them, or they don't really believe in it, the impact will be next to none. A company who buys the grudging compliance of its staff is practically not going anywhere while enthusiastic and participating employees are a crucial aspect of making a vision come true.
A vision should ideally be of long term challenging goals. The odds of realizing the vision may actually not be more than fifty percent, but the company must believe it can. So aim for something worthwhile that will make people stretch themselves to succeed. If not they will not make that extra effort essential for success.
Personify the vision & mission
You need to get to the stage where executives and managers can live the visions and missions, be seen doing so and constantly communicate them to their colleagues. And chances of that happening without a mental image is slim. It's best is to create a noble vision that elevates the energy, enthusiasm and passion of everyone in the company.
And don't forget to make everybody see a benefit in enabling the vision to come true. There's no need to worry about laying out the vision in details, it's the direction that counts. But do remember that a good vision will evolve over time. Having a vision can be a catalyzing force in our lives, but don't expect to travel a linear path from point A to point B to realize it because no matter how good the vision it has to adapt to an ever changing world.
(Photo iMAGINE – PhotoXpress)