mind your business: Reaching Great Heights
As Mark Twain once remarked about the weather, there's a lot of talk about vision, but very few managers really do anything about it. Similar to leadership, visioning is sometimes an innate natural skill. And the moon sometimes blocks out the sun, but not very often—most people have to consciously and continually work to strengthen their visioning. Visionary leaders are seldom born that way, nor are they necessarily born charismatic. They have had to work at making visioning habitual.
Here are a few pathways and pitfalls to organizational visioning:
• You and your team need to picture and describe your preferred future in vivid detail. One approach is to imagine it's five years from today and you're being interviewed by Fortune magazine, a leading newspaper or an industry journalist on the phenomenal success your company or team has had. Describe the results you've achieved and perhaps the approach you've used. Speak in the present tense as if it's all happening around you right now.
• Too many managers try to delegate "the vision thing" to a committee. It doesn't work. If you're a senior manager, caring for the culture and providing organization focus isn't just part of your job, it is your job.
• Unless you're an exceptionally clear and inspiring writer, be careful about drafting a "vision statement" and using that as your communications centerpiece. Visions are about feelings, beliefs, emotions and pictures. It's difficult to translate those on paper (especially if the statement is developed by a committee). Vision ideas or summaries can, and should, be committed to paper, and widely circulated, but as a "leave behind," follow-up or reminder. Visions are the most compelling when they are delivered in person by a leader who's an effective communicator. Powerful personal communication skills and energizing leadership are inseparable. Learn how to use "impassioned logic" by adding metaphors, stories, models or examples to help everyone see the big picture and rouse their emotions to make it happen.