Stew Friedman writes a great post titled “Define Your Personal Leadership Vision” in which he provides some guidance on how to go about defining your personal leadership vision. He describes a personal leadership vision as…
“… an essential means for focusing attention on what matters most; what you want to accomplish in your life and what kind of leader you wish to be. A useful vision has to be rooted in your past, address the future, and deal with today’s realities. It represents who you are and what you stand for. It inspires you, and the people whose commitment you need, to act to make constructive change towards
a future you all want to see.”
Leadership vision is about seeing beyond the obvious to find new ways of doing business.
It’s also about paying attention to the people you are leading to gain clues to what they need, what can be done to help them become better at what they do or become better at who they are, and inspiring them to reach beyond themselves for new growth opportunities.
"The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious." — John Scully
Leadership vision is about being out in front of people.
Leading the way, showing them where to go and how to get there. It’s about paying attention to subtle signs of problems, new patterns forming or challenges that your staff may not yet be aware of.
“A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” — David Gergen
Leadership vision can motivate without providing direction.
The emotionally expressed intention to be the best XYZ is inspiring. It gives us something to believe in, work towards, and identify with. But a vision doesn't always provide direction, what to do differently.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, but of choice. Not something to wish for, but to attain.” — William Jennings Brya
Leadership vision can provide leadership.
There is managerial vision and leadership vision. The former motivates performance improvement; this isn't leadership. Visionary leadership paints an inspiring picture of what an organization can become. It points towards a new future, a change in direction, and hence provides leadership.
"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." — Warren Bennis
Leadership vision provides an anchor for uncertain times.
Without out a clear leadership vision we are too easily tossed to and fro by every wind change. Finding it difficult to make progress and distracted by unnecessary work.
"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." — Henry David Thoreau
Leadership vision needs to be concrete.
To inspire change, a vision needs to be concrete, not just motherhood statements. It should point to what needs to be done by when and should differentiate you from competitors - otherwise you have provided a statement of values, not a vision. Wanting to provide the best customer service in the business is a value statement. Attaining a measurable lead on this value in your market in 3 years is a vision.
"The companies that survive longest are the one's that work out what they uniquely can give to the world—not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul." — Charles Hand
Leadership vision advocates a more substantive change in direction.
It depends on your starting point - minor change suggests a managerial challenge. If you are currently in the dark ages on customer service, then it's a leadership task.
“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”— Franklin D. Roosevelt
Leadership vision is about stepping back.
Sometimes, leadership vision is about stepping back, taking another look, re-evaluating past choices, adjusting course, making changes or reorganizing.
“Reflection is looking in so you can look out with a broader, bigger, and more accurate perspective.” — Mick Ukleja and Robert Lorbe
Principle #1 : Visioning is a personal process that is begun in isolation; however, it is fundamentally conversational and social.
Principle #2 : Even though it may seem that nothing is happening at the time, the experience itself changes the person, group, and/or organization.
Principle #3 : The experience enables us to become more of who or what we are, and therefore changes how we are in the world.
Principle #4 : Visions come to children, and to adults who can make themselves like children.
Principle #5 : Vision comes when we are humble and pitiable.
Principle #6 : Vision’s power comes as we listen to our own, internal stories.
Principle #7 : Vision’s power comes as we learn to communicate with our deepest selves.
Principle #8 : Vision’s power comes when we can honor those dreams that energize the very essence of who we are and how we want to be in the world.
Principle #9 : Vision’s power comes to us when we can be open to something greater than ourselves.
Principle #10 : Vision’s power comes as we listen to the stories around us.
Principle #11 : Vision’s power comes when the story of a person’s life joins the circle.
Principle #12 : Vision’s power comes when a person realizes a story that already exists.
Principle #13 : Vision’s power comes when we add a new episode to that story.
Principle #14 : Vision’s power comes when the story of a person’s life becomes that of life as a whole.
Summary : The personal leadership vision is comprised of the following four components:
A compelling story of the future is engaging; it captures the heart, forces you to pay attention. Those who hear it want to be a part of it somehow. And they are moved.
What does your future look like– what’s the image? If others could travel into the future with you, what would they find? A well-crafted leadership vision is described in concrete terms that are easy to visualize and remember.
The story of your future should be a stretch, but it must be achievable, too. If it were not achievable, you would have little motivation to even bother trying.
Finally, future simply means out there – some time from this moment forward, but not so far away that’s it’s out of reach.
The Questions To Ask You Are As Follows;
Is your personal leadership vision clear?
What does the future look like?
Is it achievable and future-focused?
“Create your future from your future, not your past.” — Werner Erhard
“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can't find anybody who can tell me what they want.” — Mark Twain
Thank You Very Much