In leading your own life and being a leader of people, it all starts right here. If you haven’t defined your vision, your direction is unclear. If you haven’t got clear dreams, you are most probably following other peoples. If you haven’t created a clear picture of the future, your decisions are most probably reactions to circumstances without too much strategy. Vision is vital for organisations, for teams and for our personal lives! Does dreaming come easily to you?
A key leadership skill you’ll find you need to succeed is the ability to create and communicate a vision.
Vision is about defining the future. Creating a vision is a wonderfully fun, creative process. Every single one of us has the capability for this. I would say the greatest visions of the future; I have ever created or partnered with clients to create, have always started by stepping outside a current mindset, by putting aside current parameters and creating from here.
We start by stepping into a fun, almost playful space. You have to clear the slate, create a blank canvas and leave behind any restraints or problems you see now. You access your creative right brain, to literally start to define and paint a picture of what the future could look like. So thoughts such as; ‘this isn’t possible because I haven’t got the skills’ or ‘we haven’t got the money’, are banned! The best visions are created from a place where anything is possible. Vision creates what currently does not exist.
To start creating and keep building vision, you need to create time and space. Distractions, such as ‘important tasks’ or details which will suck you into your left brain place of logical ordered thinking need to be put aside. Creating vision is visual, a right brain activity.
Not much happens without a dream. And for something great to happen, there must be a big dream. Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. Much more than a dreamer is required to bring it to reality: but the dream must be there first.
(Robert K Greenleaf, the Servant leader 2003)
It helps to define the area or areas you are envisioning first. So, whomever you are, business leader, mother, retiree or student, having a vision of the future brings you and your organization life! ‘Without a vision the people perish’ (Proverbs 29 v18)
Have a think about these questions to get started. How well set up are you for this year? It’s February already. Where do you want your organization, your department, your career, your current projects, your relationships, your health, your personal growth to be by 1st January 2015? Yes I thought seeing that date already would shock you! I find it helpful just looking at the date and imagining where I will be, what will have happened.
Do you have a picture in your mind yet for what this year holds for you?
To start to develop your picture of your year, it helps to start writing down or drawing random thoughts. Remember we are in the right brain so no order is necessary. In fact disorder and chaotic thinking can help you break out of unhelpful patterns of thinking and old mindsets.
So your next steps are to develop your vision and keep defining and refining it. Have you meditated on that picture? Have you explored your heart about your vision for this year? Does it fully resonate for you?
Take a pause and think this through – What will life and work look like on Jan 1st 2015?
Congratulations, you are now a vision maker. Do you feel more life on your year, your time? Has this increased motivation? Check in and adjust so that you feel really good about your vision.
These are baby steps helping you to create very short term vision. As a leader you need to envision beyond this year. Each and every leader I coach works towards clarifying and defining their 20 year vision as we work on personal and business goals and defining both their life and business purpose.
Longer term fully defined vision will capture purpose, values, leadership requirements, key deliverables and key processes. Successful athletes mentally recreate repeatedly the whole of their event through to victory. We can do this with whatever our vision is.
Communicating the Vision
Once you have vision, a leader needs to find words to express the picture. Coaching asks lots of questions for clarification. If you can’t express and fully verbalize it, it will be difficult for others that serve you to understand it and see it too.
You need to have those you lead understand what you have verbalized. To take part in your vision they need to share the vision with you and buy into it. Simply verbalizing a vision will not bring it to fruition. But that’s the topic of another blog!
Vision shapes action to create an intentional, better future.