Why Leadership Vision Matters

The best, most successful leaders and organizations have leadership vision. What are the less accomplished, under-performing leaders missing?

The most successful have the keys to:

  • Clearer focus on what is most important and valuable
  • Faster decision making – at every level of the organization
  • Aligning efforts towards achieving what most matters for success
  • Connection to and sense of meaning in their work and with the organization

The answer is simple, even though it seems to be often not well understood, nor utilized, nor even present.

Powerful Process

Success for the highly effective leader and organization comes from having a powerful process and form for their most critical messaging.  That process consolidates, communicates, and emphasizes the most important elements that give life, purpose, and understanding to what they aspire to, focus on achieving, and guide decision making.

This process is bringing together the powerful components of who the organization is, what its values to be at its highest level of functioning, and why it exists.  Simply stated, those are the components of identity, values, and purpose.  When these are combined together and fully manifested into the future, they give rise to a powerful vision – a picture of a future that is compelling and worth working towards starting today.

Powerful Leadership Vision

A powerful vision produces a clear, compelling, well-communicated, congruent picture of a future based upon fully manifesting the best of who an organization is, why it exists and what it values most.  That generates a profound impact that enhances focus, alignment, intensity, intention, and achievement.  There are very few things any organization has that are as effective as a compelling vision that people can see and relate to – especially for harnessing the talent, potential, creativity, and commitment of that group.

Why is a leadership vision composed of identity, purpose, and values so powerful?  The simplest answer may be that these are the 3 most fundamental questions of humanity since the beginning of time:

  • What are we? (Identity)
  • What are we here? (Purpose)
  • What really matters? (Values)

Answered well, these engage fundamentally powerful forces that ignite human potential and form the basis for high performance.

The reverse is sadly true.  A leader and organization that lacks a meaningful answer to the question “why are we doing what we’re doing” produces a number of sub-optimal activities and results:

  • Missing effective action – because they don’t know where they are going
  • Waiting for direction – because they don’t know what really matters
  • Doing whatever is urgent or loudly requested – since they lack a basis for prioritizing choices
  • Making poor decisions – since they lack a strong basis for effective decision
  • Missing a deep connection to their organization – since they don’t know what it stands for or where it is heading

Look at companies considered to be the most successful, innovative, forward-looking, and dynamic – i.e.: Apple, Tesla, Google/Alphabet, and Amazon.  While they are significantly different from each other, they all possess an internal coherence and culture built on their vision and values. Their powerful vision is the picture of what lies ahead that describes the anticipated, expected, and desired results that happen as they fully manifest their identity, values, and purpose into the future.

The Challenge

The challenge is that most companies and organizations have never defined these 3 most powerful points of focus and decision-making (identity, purpose, and values), much less consolidated them into a compelling vision of the future.  Without clarity about who they are, what really matters to them, and why they really exist, how would you create a meaningful and compelling picture of the future?

Any organization that says its vision is enhancing shareholder value or being the best in its field is totally missing the real power of vision.  Enhancing shareholder value or being the best in their field is at best a goal, if not a strategy.  It is not the driving force of employee engagement, innovative decision-making, nor meaningful strategic thinking.  Yet many organizations believe that this serves as a quality vision.  Very sad.

With a clear and compelling process for defining your picture of the future, you have a platform for focusing on and making the best possible short- and long-term decisions.  This is how you move from reacting to the tactical, immediate, and urgent demands – to the clarity of priorities, meaning, focus, impact, and results.

As the Mad Hatter said to Alice In Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will do.”  How well, and how clearly, is your vision of the future building what you need and want for your organization?

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