What you are about to read may be found in the Bible butit also applies to your professional life.
Most leaders neglect to provide a statement of vision to thepeople they lead and when a vision is presented it usuallylacks any vitality or inspirational value.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish" - that"s thewarning given to the King Solomon [in Proverbs 29:18].
And the prophet Habakkuk is commanded to, "Write the vision,and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readsit, for the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but atthe end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, waitfor it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry [Hab2:2-3]."
So your vision statements must serve three importantfunctions:
1) Those who you lead need that vision or their efforts willfail to achieve anything of long-lasting value;
2) Your vision must be written in clear, plain language sothat your people will be able to run with its meaning;
3) A vision refers to some appointed time in the future andthough it appears to be delayed in coming, it willeventually become your reality.
An Element of Purposeful Action!
You need verbs. Use your statements to convey action. Youractions must be focused on producing some effect, result oroutcome.
You could discuss it - but that will not satisfy the desiresof our human hearts. Your vision must fulfill others and notleave them with a sense of emptiness.
You should say something that matters to others, somethingthat will impact their lives, something that gives them apurpose.
Give their efforts, activities or striving a worthy reward.
An Element of Compelling Reasons!
Your leadership is the reason. Why do they want to followyou? What "because" will your vision provide them with? Howcome we need to do this thing, this project, this venture?
Your statement must give a set of compelling reasons fortaking action. These reasons must be compelling, inspiring,critical, exciting, essential to your group.
I love those CEOs who slither up to the microphone and telltheir fellow employees that they should be motivated toslave away so that the company can "increase shareholdervalue"! After the speech, ask those employees about thepercentage of their ownership in that company and you findout that the employees only own about 0.1% - not even enoughpower to vote in a single director.
Increasing shareholder value is not very exciting to anyone,including shareholders - they are motivated by the amountsof money they actually earn - cash-in-hand, not promises ofpaper profits.
An Element of Trustworthy Purposes!
Psychologists say unemployed people are usually depressed,sullen and lethargic. It"s a scientific fact that peopleliving with little or no purpose are unhappy and are morelikely to think about ending their lives.
You and I are at our most effective when we are fulfillingour purpose. Job titles are important because thosedesignations tell people that there is a purpose for theirwork, their organization and profession.
Your title is not the only indicator of your purpose but itdoes give you a sense of purpose, doesn"t it? We find iteasier to trust in and rely on the promises of a worthwhile,noble purpose.
Your vision statements should give the group a purpose thatis worthy of their trust, loyalty and commitment.
An Element of Valuable Identity
Do your statements portray pictures of hope, futurerealities or laudable objectives? What will your groupidentify themselves with after they achieve your vision?
Vivid visions educate, develop and encourage people. Visionshold up the mirror of future possibilities and enable peopleto see their potential clearly defined.
You can use your visionary projections to transform thegroup into a newer, better, more confident team of leaders,innovators and mentors. Thus, visions can help you add valueto and boost the resourcefulness of your people"s bestefforts.
An Element of Principled Activities
Without principles, your vision will fade away intonothingness - is it possible that the Bible"s Author meansthe same thing?
Your vision must have a strong foundation to have any chanceat a future of success. Integrating the personal, culturaland corporate values of your people into your visionprovides a bedrock for buy-in from all the actors.
Principles, shared beliefs, morals or ethics can also formthe underpinnings of a worthy vision. When you involve anypositive findings from our studies of philosophy, psychologyor theology you probably have the makings of a nurturingvision.
An Element of Eternal Hope
The time is now but eternity is forever. Eternity is one bigeternal present - within it, there is no past, no future andno in-between, there is only a now.
Your vision needs to be present at all times - to be surethe vision may not yet be attained, but it when its goalsare achieved that visionary image will be present.
If the vision contains a crystallized hope, it will appearto mirror the best parts of eternity - your vision will bewithout any past regrets, without the fear of future doomand it will contain one ever-present hope for better things.
An Element of Unlimited Dimensionality
Does your vision statement inspire our bodies, minds,spirits and potentials? Have you spoken to and connectedwith our physical, intellectual, spiritual or developmentalbeings?
The vision that finds its way into a group"s innermost corehas the best chance of realization. Your statement must helpyour audience to see their opportunities to:
- Add tangible value to their world
- Pursue newer, more challenging ideas
- Be empowered to accomplish greater things
- Grow beyond the limitations of their current state
Use the power of dimension to lengthen, deepen, heighten andbroaden the character, capability, competence and potentialof your team - they"ll be the better for it.
Your vivid vision statement should contain the promise of agreater, more desirable world - if you include these 7elements, you will see your envisioned ideas become aglorious version of a new reality.
Thomas Jefferson included the line, "life, liberty, and thepursuit of happiness" to describe his vision of an UnitedStates of America in the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson"s ideas certainly sparked the imaginations of manypeople and his statements were eventually transformed into atangible reality. The best vision statements embody idealsthat are usually shared by all participants.
If you can find those ideals, if you use the 7 elements andif you share your heart with your followers, you too will beable to craft an enduring, yet inspirational vision.
Start writing a vision for your own personal growth andfuture - then take action and put your ideals into practiceand help others to realize their dreams.
Don"t let the people perish, give them a vivid vision to runwith and prosper by and the world will beat a path to yourdoor!
Copyright 2004, Mustard Seed Investments, Inc., All rights reserved
About the Author:Bill Thomas produces "The Leadership Toolkit" - a webbased training program that improves your leadership skills,energizes creativity and transforms you into a persuasive,empowering leader. Inspire Confidence, Be Creative, EnhanceYour Leadership Influence - Get "All the Tools You Need ToLead!"
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