Leaders and Vision
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch
Coming from one of the most renown leaders in business, Jack Welch has articulated the responsibilities of a leader as it’s related to vision quite well, wouldn’t you say? Let’s unpack this quote a bit so you can see how you stack up to Jack’s recommendation.
- Create A Vision – The vision is far more challenging than the yearly, quarterly or monthly goals you are accustomed to setting. It is long term, think big, no limits! Other guru’s like Jim Collins would call this a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”, a term I tend to prefer.
For example, Amazon has published their vision, it 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.” Notice, they did not say for the America’s or some other country or region, they said to be the Earth’s; they did not say a customer centric company, they said the most and they refer to their products as anything a customers might want to buy online.
Check: What is your vision? Is it inspirational, lofty, challenging and exciting? The vision as it stands may be a goal, and if so, that’s okay. You can dream, you can create your vision and still accomplish the goal.
2. Articulate The Vision – the choice of words here is no mistake. Articulate is different than communicate, share, publish and other synonyms we might defer to. Webster’s says that to articulate is to speak fluently and coherently. This means that the leader needs to share the vision is a way that is fluid, it rolls off their tongue without thought and it is easily understood by others, not just themselves. Sounds simple, but trust, this is a challenging step. It takes constant repetition, often a compliant of business people “I don’t want to have to repeat myself”, too bad, you will need to if you really want to lead. And, how you convey the message needs to speak to everyone, those that listen with their ears, their eyes and even their hands.
Check: Speak to your staff, have them tell you the company vision. Their response will tell you how good of a job you are doing. If they don’t tell you want you want to hear, consider if your message is clear or if it’s frequent enough. If they tell you what you want to hear, don’t stop. Keep going. Don’t let complacency get the best of you.
3. Passionately Own The Vision – the words passion and own stand out here. We all know passion is more than a subtle interest, it burns in our minds and our hearts. When we have passion, it give us energy, better than coffee energy! Secondly, consider the word “own”. To own means that it is yours. Leaders are not passing the ownership or pointing the finger on the vision, telling others they are just following along. Even if they were the creator of the vision, they adopt it and make it theirs. They own it.
Check: How do you present the vision? How do your leadership team present the vision, as their own? Is there energy behind the message? The answers may not always be clear. This check takes observation and conversation, sometimes difficult ones.
4. Relentlessly Drive It To Completion – Leaders never give up on their goals. They will encounter challenges, the overcome them. The adjust, they flex but they always keep the vision top of mind and are taking action to carry out the vision. Driving is action. Sometimes when we drive, we move fast down the highway and other times we have to navigate unexpected traffic, we get a flat tire or have to take a detour.
Check: What steps are you taking? What steps is your team taking? If those steps are clearly identifiable, there may be cause for concern. You and your team must be able to understand how their actions today are related to the vision of tomorrow.
There you have it, a four-part checklist concerning your vision and the leaders. It’s worth noting, when I say “Leader” we are not just talking about the individuals in your company at the tippy-top. Leaders are throughout the organization, some have just started with your organization, others have been with you from the beginning. Some are in management and others are entry level. I encourage you to consider this checklist for all the leaders in your company.
At Transform Consulting, we are passionate about helping businesses accomplish their goals. If this post sparks your interest, even in the slightest, it would be our pleasure to conduct a complimentary consultation with you. Contact us today!