How to Lead With Vision
Great leaders are not only able to see a successful future; they are able to communicate it in a clear and compelling way that makes people want to direct their efforts toward it.
A clear and compelling vision creates a unifying purpose, which guides people’s actions. Vision crystalizes leadership thinking, aligns the efforts of every part of the business, and inspires people to give everything they’ve got.
A strong vision serves three critical purposes
- Vision gives a business and its people the context in which to operate. Vision enables effective decision making, provides meaning to the work people do, and creates alignment. Vision goes well beyond goals and strategy. Vision answers the ultimate question of why? Why would I want to work here? Why do I come to work every day? Why do we have this set of objectives? Why should I become an investor in the business? Why is your product special? Why is this business important?
- Vision is the unifying purpose that enables people to align their efforts. Achieving that alignment is one of a leader’s most difficult challenges, and it becomes that much more difficult – if not impossible – in the absence of a clear statement of purpose that is understandable by all. In fact, a strong vision becomes a vehicle for aligning the thoughts and efforts of not only employees, but also all of the company’s stakeholders. A clear vision raises the collective commitment from the entire organization. It guides your mangers and their teams so that they are able to align their efforts in a common direction. And a clear vision reduces the dependence on a few key individuals.
- A strong vision is a strong statement of purpose. It’s meaningful to people and provides them with a compelling reason to take action. A clear and compelling vision makes people want to give their best effort and play a role in making it happen. It tells people why they come to work every day. Most people are motivated to be a part of something bigger and more important.
A visionary leader rarely takes an easy route. Real visionaries see opportunities where others see obstacles. In the early 80’s most didn’t see a practical need for personal computers. Bill Gates’ vision of a computer on every desk and in every home seemed absurd and impractical. At a time when no one had personal computers, Gates had a clear vision, and he consistently worked toward making his vision a reality by getting others to commit to it.
It’s not enough to simply articulate the vision; you have to consistently take action toward it. Vision isn’t something you only talk about in meetings. You have to live it every single day. Vision is your guide. It determines what you will do, and just as importantly, what you will not do. Great leaders understand that vision is not only aspirational; it also has very practical implications.
How to lead with vision
- Envision a successful future for the business
- Communicate that future in a compelling way
- Consistently take action toward your vision
- See opportunities, not problems
- Enlist the support of others to turn your vision into reality
Are you leading with vision?