Vision is the primary and most important quality for a leader to possess. It is what leads and motivates him towards success – the fire that lights the road he will be traveling so he will not get lost along the journey. It is the sense of direction that draws him forward. A leader without a vision is like a traveler who has no direction as to where he is going.
Jeff Earlywine, a famous author, compares casting vision with fishing. He had made such comparison because that hobby of his was one of his greatest loves as a kid. That love, according to him, developed quickly because his family owned a little bait shop that was located near Toledo Bend Lake in Louisiana. Toledo Bend is known for its large bass and large quantity of crappies.
He soon found out that there is a lot more to fishing than just catching fish. Learning to cast a fishing lure into a tree-covered fish hole takes great skill. However, casting is just the start; you have to learn to make the lure look irresistible to the fish below, so irresistible that an attack is inevitable.
Casting a vision for your organization works much the same way – the vision should be effective, useful, and doable so that success would be easy to catch. It is the starting process that when done well would lead to a flourishing realization.
Therefore, to be a leader, you must have a vision. This vision is the same direction as yours that your people will walk through, having you to lead the way for them. Without a clear vision of what you want to do and where you want to go, you just cannot hope for anything to happen.
Bringing Out that Vision in You
To develop a vision, look within yourself. Vision comes from the inner self. Hence, you cannot say that it is difficult or you just cannot make one. Every one has his mold and personality where he can extract a vision for himself and for his people.
Vision does not come suddenly like some magical tricks, as some people seem to believe. It grows from the leader’s past experiences and history of the people around him. Draw on your talents, dreams, and desires. Look to your calling if you have one.
When you finally have that vision that is indispensable to your leadership, don’t just end there. Cast it…effectively. This is where your leadership begins.
Casting your vision to your people involves five steps:
1. Listen. Since vision starts within, you have to listen and feel what your mind and heart really want. What stirs your heart? What is your greatest desire? What do you dream about? If what you wish to pursue does not really come from the inner depths of you, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve it.
On the other hand, in fulfilling a greater vision, you need a good team to support you. Nobody can accomplish big things alone. Hence, listen to good advice from a person who has more experiences than you do in leadership. Find a mentor. Seek for help occasionally. Nothing is wrong in asking for guidance. Even leaders need to be taught to learn.
Lastly, you should not be confined within your limited capabilities. A truly valuable vision must be coupled with faith.
2. Prepare your mind. The process of casting a vision begins with you, the leader. As mentioned earlier, the vision of your organization begins in your mind and heart. It is something that you can feel, taste, see, hear, and touch with your soul. Your vision should be greater than your past memories, mistakes, and accomplishments. If you have a vision in mind, you will know what to aim for and will never get lost along the journey. Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of practice, but by the absence of vision. Warren Bennis, author of The Leadership Institute, even said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
The best way for your vision to become clear in your mind and heart is to retreat to a quiet and tranquil place – somewhere that will allow your mind to think creatively and crystallize the vision.
3. Ask questions. Introduce your people to thought provoking questions that will help them see the vision and dream in your heart, and begin acquiring that vision, too. Your questions may be like:
– What is one thing that our staff needs to do their job better?
– What actions need to be taken in order to increase our sales and/or income?
– What changes need to be made in order to guarantee we accomplish our objectives?
4. Identify the problem. During this step, discuss with your team the challenges keeping the questions you have arrived at from being answered and acted upon – challenges such as why sales are not reaching predetermined goals, why customers are not returning, or why families are suffering just as much within the church walls as they are outside the church. Being aware of what the problem really is will lead to knowing what necessary steps have to be taken. Overcoming these challenges will put the organization on the pathway to accomplishing its objectives and your vision.
5. Proceed to a solution. The last step in this process is to determine the solution to the above challenges. This is the where you share your heart’s vision and get the opinions of your leadership team. Everyone must be convinced that the solution will help your organization accomplish your vision. It is very important at this point to remember K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short & Simple.