Casting vision is an essential skill for any leader. Whether you lead a household, a college football team, or a Fortune 500 corporation you won’t succeed without vision. Why is a vision so important? According to Warren Bennis, professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business, “In order to take the organization to the highest possible level, leaders must engage their people with a compelling and tangible vision.”
What Vision Is
Author of Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey, says, “Visions are dreams with more clarity.” Vision is a futuristic picture in the leader’s mind that encompasses what the organization is about, what it aims to be, and the central objective it is striving for.
A vision paints the picture of what the future is to look like when you get there.
Traveling With A Vision
A couple of years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Great Britain. There is so much to do there, so much to see. How would we ever decide how to spend our time? How would we prioritize?
Fortunately, we’ve traveled together throughout our marriage. We’ve discovered what we like and what we don’t. You might say we have a vision for taking a trip. We aim for outdoor adventure with historical and cultural checkpoints.
Without this shared vision, we’d be arguing over how to enjoy our time, her tugging one way, me another, regretting missed opportunities and time wasted in indecision. Having a vision not only inspires the trip to begin with, but also guides our decisions, time, and spending along the way.
In Proverbs, the Bible says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Clearly we must apply vision to our lives, marriages, businesses, and teams. Dave Ramsey points out the implications of not having a vision, “With no vision in your organization, you perish… die… roadkill… dead chicken in the sun. Perish. You can’t make payroll, your ‘team’ becomes just ‘employees,’ morale goes down, turnover goes up, sales go down.”
To perish is surely not the vision you are aiming for. What is the positive impact of having and communicating a vision?
Reasons For Sharing Your Vision
Beyond simply a successful organization, there are 4 distinct reasons leaders must communicate their vision.
- Vision Invites others to join in the journey and be a part of something larger than themselves. This is a desire woven inside every human being. We have a deep need to belong, to have an impact, and to be joined with others in a common cause.
- Vision Inspires others to commit to a shared goal. Others want to play a role. They want to contribute to bring the vision and goals into reality. Great leaders share the vision that allows others to take ownership and make the organization’s vision their own.
- Vision Illuminates the what, why, and how of achieving the organization’s goals. While a vision doesn’t explicitly outline the plan for getting there, it does help team members to act with passion and purpose toward a common goal. It shines light on the path so everyone can see the way to go.
- Vision Informs the decisions and choices team members make. Having a clear vision helps others to base their decisions on whether or not a course of action moves the organization closer to its vision. The vision serves as a guide to direct plans, strategies, priorities, and actions of everyone in the organization.
Unite Your Team Under A Shared Vision
As a leader you are responsible for distilling and communicating your organization’s vision in a way everyone can understand. When the vision is compelling and engaging, team members take up the vision as their own. That’s called buy in, the root of engaging others to play their respective roles. Through a shared vision individuals unite to create a high performing organization that is rewarding for all and achieves its goals.