There are volumes written on vision and developing vision. In our look at the essentials of leadership, vision is a must include.
Simply put, without vision nothing gets done effectively. Vision sets the direction. It determines the goals. Vision gives clarity and focus. Vision is what keeps us on track and on pace and keeps us from wandering aimlessly. Vision looks down the road, way out front, and sees what is coming so we can be prepared.
A leader must have a vision of what could be. A vision of where the group or organization is going. That vision needs to be specific and clear. It needs to be memorable. It needs to have something that compels and motivates toward a brighter tomorrow, accomplished significance, and/or a collective ideal.
Once a leader has the vision he/she strives to hone it down as concisely as possible to make it easy to communicate and rally around. This is more than a statement drafted at a conference or corporate workshop. A clear vision isn’t constrained by fads or the latest buzzwords, it doesn’t get bogged in formulas or pithiness. A great vision is a rallying cry, a point of commonality, the “why” behind all that a group or organization sets out to do. It’s the focus, the reason, the purpose. Whether stated in a few words or several it is something that others can understand, appreciate, and follow with no ambiguity or confusion whatsoever.
It is the leader’s responsibility to keep the vision front and center. To make sure people know it and get it. The leader has the task of communicating vision. Whether simple and immediate or more complex and long-term, in any given moment, people follow the one that bests seems to know where they are going. Leaders rise to the top most in those times when the path isn’t so clear, because a real leader steps up with a vision, a plan, a path to follow. Even if that person doesn’t hold the rank or position.
There are numerous stories of times of war when an officer with position doesn’t know what to do and a lower ranking individual steps up with a plan and the platoon follows the leader, not the rank.
Vision guides. Vision gives clarity. Vision removes uncertainty. Vision gives reason. Vision reveals the purpose.
Vision is essential to leadership.