It’s What Success Looks Like
The world is filled with fear and trepidation about the future. Staff are concerned for their jobs and what the future holds for them. World leaders have proven themselves to be uninspirational through being indecisive, divisive and destructive. So staff are looking for a leader who will inspire them and lead them forward into the future.
We’ll look at some of the problems and how you can inspire your team through creating a vision for the future and leading out loud.
You, your family and your team will be inspired of a future aspiration. Something to hook into hope and belief and direction.
At the beginning of this great remote working experiment in early 2020 it was quickly apparent that organisations were ill-prepared. Many caught up quickly and started using the video-conferencing systems they’d been toying with for years. Fortunately, a lot of us live in homes with incredible high speed fibre connections, though many more do not enjoy such luxury.
Even if the organisation had a workable plan for business continuity, staff floundered as they tried working from home for the first time and leaders struggled to lead remotely through zoom.
Something was forgotten. Organisation and political leadership were ill-prepared for this experiment. Old ways of working and communicating were simply moved into a virtual environment that required something different. Many leaders have learned and improved their virtual presence tremendously well though belligerent exceptions remain numerous.
Now, as we enter a new year, and a shift that brings a tiny shred of hope with approved vaccines, there remains a huge gap in leadership. There are few with a vision for the future.
The vague promise of a return to “normalcy” is constantly interrupted with country after country, particularly in the west, being forced to implement yet another lockdown as another wave of infections defies the desire to enjoy a social life and political office holders desperate to cling on to the populist vote.
Hopes are dashed daily and any sense of control or a future remain elusive.
The richest and wisest man to ever live told us why nearly 3,000 years ago:
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18
An unclear vision causes three things: division, indecision and destruction.
Division: An unclear vision causes division. No-one has a clear path so everyone heads in their own direction, choosing whichever path suits their personal agenda.
When a country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it. But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out. Proverbs 28:2 (MSG)
Indecision: Without a vision, you’re just drifting through life, you’re just existing and surviving. No-one makes decisions because no-one knows where they are heading.
Without a vision, you have no purpose, no goal, no plan and no meaning. Life just happens to you. You waste time and miss opportunities. You’re coasting and when you’re coasting, as you know, you’re heading downhill.
Destruction: Division and indecision inevitably lead you on the path to destruction. Without clarity of vision, at some point, you’re going to hit a dead end and crash.
However, having a vision requires work.
It’s why a lot of people don't have a vision. We need to take some time to reflect, meditate and think and see things clearly. Seeing with eyes of faith and not with eyes of fear.
People will say when I See it then I'll believe it. When we see the world through eyes of fear and all we see around us is chaos and confusion, we’re likely to fall into four traps:
Trap 1: We will tend to overemphasize the negative. Our brain is auto-tuned to look for problems and threats, and the media in all forms loves to feed those fears.
Trap 2: I pay too much attention to what other people are doing and develop a scarcity mentality where the pie isn’t big enough for everybody.
Trap 3: I underestimate the abilities God has given me. Seeing through fear makes me underestimate the abilities I have and I start to doubt if I am good enough.
Trap 4: I spread a bad report undermining any vision. And now I want to go back to “normal” … A prior time… when all was good and comfortable and easy…
When we look with eyes of faith, the real leader will create the future they want to see in their mind's eye, they hear it, and then they speak it – they choose the future reality they want to create. Then, they go to work on it and start to lead out loud.
A vision without action is a fantasy
Vision is the final quality in John C Maxwell’s The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, and without vision, you can’t lead. He says: “You can’t buy, beg, or borrow vision. It has to come from the inside.”
Your vision for the future starts as an aspiration. Something you aspire to achieve. And achievement requires action. If you procrastinate at this point then fear is taking root and beware the traps I mentioned before. Fear of failure is the most common. Fear of not being good enough, fear that you’re too late to the party and so on. Overcome that fear (and procrastination) by taking one small first step. You can use the SWING process that I shared before in the Proven Hack to Inspire Hope and See Good Days.
- Start by telling yourself the vision. Make sure you say what you will see in the future (with your eyes), what you will hear (with your ears), what you will smell, taste and feel. Speak it out loud and alone. Keep repeating it until you know that this is the vision, that it is clear.
- Then tell one trusted friend. Ask for their help to hone your vision, make it succinct. Make it understandable to a child or a grandma. Reiterate until you both believe in your vision. Truly believe.
- Write it out and practice repeating your vision out loud until you know that you are fluent.
- Then tell your inner circle, out loud. Watch how it lands and ask for their input, revision, honing.
- Keep refining until you get that crystal clear, succinct, direct, sensory image that everyone gets excited about.
- Then say it, repeat it. And keep repeating it. Don’t ever stop repeating it.
- Won’t people get bored of it? Keep repeating your vision.
- Won’t I get bored saying it? That’s a problem. Can you choose to not be bored?
- What about the HOW we will do it? That’s the job of your mission statement, it’s important and your next job.
Casting Vision is about establishing and communicating Command Intent – or what success looks like. It empowers team members to strategically improvise in a dynamic and chaotic environment.
Some great examples
“To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.” Southwest Airlines
Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft
“To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” Tesla
“Video communications empowering people to accomplish more.” Zoom
“A world where everyone has a decent place to live.” Habitat for Humanity
“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.” Google
“Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon
“delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors.” Zappos
A vision works best when it is filled with purpose,
Bland, awful and rubbish Vision statements
“We recalibrate brands to broaden awareness, reframe global positions and re-connect with core customers. Our business is to help you form relationships and effectively engage.” Edelman
“Pragmatic disruption of the status quo.” W2O Group
“To Maximise Shareholder Value” More companies than you can count.
Right now, employees everywhere are concerned for their future. The pandemic has taken a toll on business and the economy everywhere, and they know that. The longer leaders keep quiet, the more the rumours spread and fear digs deeper roots.
Many leaders I work with too are concerned for their future. They don’t know what’s going to happen any more than anyone else. Everyone’s guessing right now. By the way, we were always guessing, but the future looked quite bright, and we all believed that we could impose some sort of control over the future. Now we know we have no control at all. But if you’re a leader (even if you only lead you) it falls to you to take a lead into this unknowable future.
If you’re going to lead your team out into the future, you need to inspire them. It’s not enough that they have a job and should be grateful. Remember, now that almost anyone from anywhere in the world can do your job and theirs also means that they can do other jobs anywhere else too. And it won’t be the rubbish staff who leave first. Take heart that great employees are drawn to inspirational leaders, and to inspire you need to cast a vision, you need to aspire and speak it out loud. And you can do that.
With your vision, your team will be inspired and empowered to strategically improvise in this chaotic and dynamic environment and create the success to which you, and they, aspire.
Learn more about our Casting Vision Module.