LEADERSHIP BY DESIGN - MODULE 23
Be able to identify the key characteristics of a compelling vision statement, alongside mastering a series of steps to craft your own impactful vision statement, empowering you to lead with clarity and purpose.
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Okay, we’re now going to change tack completely, having spoken in the last couple of segments about managing, turning threats into opportunities, and proactively engaging the risk. We can now take a big leap and start looking forward at how we as leaders can set direction, can set direction positively for the future.
Now the several parts of this, but what we’re dealing with today is where it all starts. It’s about creating vision, a compelling, powerful, organizational vision, one that draws everybody in. Now we’ve already spoken about this in terms of goal setting. Goal setting you can do for yourself, and with your team members. And it’s the same idea that if we can create this short but powerful, really rich picture of what the future looks like, then we can engage people, so that they start to move positively towards it.
A vision needs to be something which is clear and unambiguous. It has some sort of scope to it, so we know when it’s achieved, and also some idea of when we might achieve it. And the richer the picture, the better.
Now there is some discussion about whether vision should be lots and lots of words, or one sentence. Whether it can be a picture, or whether it needs to be broken down into huge amounts of detail with lots of objects. My view is that it needs to be short and powerful. It’s got the time element in it. It’s got some element, so that we know when we’ll achieve it. And it’s got a description that is powerful and clear. It’s great if you can put it into pictures if that’s appropriate but otherwise, short, powerful, motivational statement which tells us what this future looks like. Something that excites people, something that really, they can get behind, and they can all say, yup, this is our vision for our business, this is where we’re all going.
And everything starts with a vision. Yup, constructing a vision can be quite difficult. You may need a few hours. You may need a few days. It may be if you’re a small business, you can create it on your own. For bigger business, within a business unit, or division or the whole business group, it may take days. On a retreat that you’ve been building up to for weeks doing background analysis, and you may even need two or three goes to it, to get that consensus and to get it boiled down to the right thing.
Whichever way you need to go, and however you do it, it needs to be powerful, succinct, and compelling, and it needs to drive everything else that flows from it. And it needs to be something which every member of staff, every member of your team can identify with and connect with, and it’s something they can call articulate.
A vision is part science, is part art. But at the end of the day, it must appeal to people, as part of what you do as a leader. So, it must be human, and it must be a human element, so your people can buy into it. And a vision doesn’t sit there on its own; a vision should be living in dynamic. Write it down, have it down on your strategy documents, have it in the foyer of your business. Have it everywhere, but also talk about it. Create stories about it. And make it part of the daily dialog, not something, which is just a graphic, to sit on the wall. A vision could be so powerful if it’s done well. Now, read the material, and maybe you can think about a vision for project, your team, your division. But you can do this also at a personal level, so do have one eye on that, but we’re really talking about the business. So, try and sketch something out. Have a look at it or go and have a look at the vision you’ve got at the moment. And test it, and see if it’s motivational, if it gives clear direction. So, today, it’s all about vision. Tomorrow, in the next segment, we move on to talking about the strategic framework that might help to deliver that vision. By the way, today, have fun, thinking about visions. And you’re going to be right up there at the top level of your five levels of focus in vision. Enjoy that one.