Archive for vision
Have you ever been a part of a team that doesn’t seem to get anything accomplished? Where the team may work and work, but nothing actually gets done? If so, you’ve probably been on a team that lacked vision.
Vision works like a rudder on a ship. Without it, the ship may travel a distance, but not necessarily in the right direction. With it, the ship reaches the destination by the shortest route possible.
Vision determines the direction of the team.
Champion basketball coach Pat Riley once said, “Teamwork requires that everyone’s efforts flow in a single direction. Feelings of significance happen when a team’s energy takes on a life of its own.”
With vision, a team has energy, and team members feel like they’re doing something of value. So if you’re the leader of a team, how do you impart vision to your people?
You transfer the vision both emotionally and logically.
What is needed to emotionally transfer a vision?
- Credibility. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Your people need to know that you can be trusted.
- Passion. Team members will not be excited about a vision that the leader doesn’t care about. They need to see and feel your passion before they embrace it.
- Relationship. How well do your teammates know you? How well do you know them? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Timing. For a vision to connect, its timing needs to be right. The right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision.
- Felt need. This is relatively easy, because we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Revealing how your vision meets that need can lead to emotional buy-in.
What is needed to logically transfer a vision?
- A realistic understanding of the situation today. A firm grasp on reality gives your vision a starting point, and makes team members more willing to partner in achieving it.
- An experienced team. How familiar are team members with the specific problem? The more they’ve dealt with similar situations, the more confident they’ll be in their ability to tackle this challenge. Make it your goal to show them how their previous experience has prepared them.
- A sound strategy. Do you have a game plan that you can articulate clearly and succinctly? Team members need to know where they’re going before they can fully accept the responsibility for getting there.
- Acceptance of responsibility by the leader(s). Do you embrace your role in achieving the vision? Are you willing to be held accountable? People need to know that you’ll do your part.
- Celebration of each victory. A big vision is filled with many small goals. Celebrating victories in those areas helps team members track their progress and find the motivation to continue on the journey.
- Evaluation of each defeat. When the team misses a goal, it’s important to acknowledge that and communicate how the team can do better moving forward.
Great vision precedes great achievement. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, a leader of troops during World War II, wrote that “every single soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.” People on your team need to know why they’re fighting. This helps them buy in emotionally and logically, so that they can work together with you to achieve victory.
Happy New Year! I hope your year has begun well.
What is your favorite time of year? Is it Christmas? Is it when you celebrate your birthday? Or when flowers bloom in the spring? Or your summer vacation? Or when the children go back to school? Or the beginning of football season? Or when the leaves change? When is it? I can tell you mine. It’s the week after Christmas.
On Christmas Day in the afternoon, after the grandchildren have finished opening all their presents and all the hoopla has died down, I can hardly contain myself, because I know it’s time for one of the things I love most every year. I steal off to my study while everyone else is watching television or napping. There on my desk waiting for me is my appointment calendar from the preceding year and a yellow legal pad. Starting that afternoon and continuing that week up until New Year’s Eve, I spend time reviewing my calendar. I review every appointment, meeting, commitment, and activity—hour by hour—from the previous 359 days. And I evaluate each of them.
I look carefully at my speaking engagements and consider what I should do more of, what I should do less of, and what I should eliminate altogether.
I look at the growth opportunities I pursued and judge which gave a high return and which didn’t.
I look at all the meetings and appointments I had and determine which ones I should do more of and which I should eliminate.
I consider how much time I spent doing things that I should have delegated to someone else. (I also look at what I delegated and reconsider whether I should pick anything back up or delegate it to someone different.)
I evaluate whether I spent enough time with my family. I also make a list of all the things Margaret and I did together that year, and I take her out to dinner one night so we can reminisce and enjoy them once again. That’s a romantic evening that always ends well!
I try to account for every waking hour I had the previous year. And what’s the value of that? It helps me to develop strategies for the coming year. Because I do this every year (and have for decades), I become more focused, strategic, and effective every year. Even if I have a difficult time or relatively unproductive year compared to what I desired, it’s never a loss, because I learn from it and improve upon it in the coming year. There’s no substitute for being strategic. To maximize growth, you must develop strategies. That’s the Law of Design.
Most people allow their lives to simply happen to them. They float along. They wait. They react. And by the time a large portion of their life is behind them, they realize they should have been more proactive and strategic. I hope that hasn’t been true for you. If it has, then I want to encourage you to develop a stronger sense of urgency and a pro-strategic mind-set. These things will help you plan and develop strategies for your life and growth. It’s not too late to maximize growth in 2013.
Adapted from The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
How important is Vision in leadership? I believe that there’s no such thing as a leader who doesn’t have a vision. What do you think?
Today’s post features a Minute with Maxwell on VISION. Click to view the video:
I love doing A Minute with Maxwell. It’s my opportunity to coach and empower you a little every day. The program is totally free, and anyone can view it. To be notified by email every day, when a new Minute is posted, simply fill out the following form:
Hello from Harare, Zimbabwe! For the past few days, I’ve been speaking on leadership in cities in Zimbabwe and South Africa. It’s been a wonderful trip, with audiences hungry to grow. And I’m grateful to my host, Dr. David Molapo. He’s taken care of every detail.
But today I want to tell you about something else I’m grateful for. In Cape Town, South Africa, I received a very meaningful gift from my friend Shaun Battleman: a visit and private tour of Robben Island.
If you haven’t heard of Robben Island and the prison that used to be there, you might have heard of one of its more famous prisoners: Nelson Mandela. You might also be familiar with this picture of him in his jail cell, where he spent 27 years of his life for the “crime” of protesting South Africa’s policy of apartheid.
On a sunny spring day in Cape Town, we boarded Shaun Battleman’s yacht and traveled over to Robben Island. After disembarking, we were taken on a private tour of the facility (which is now a museum). Our tour guide, Jama, had been imprisoned there at the same time as Mandela.
Once we entered the former prison, the doors were slammed shut – to give us a sense of what it felt like to be locked in. We saw the area where prisoners were issued a number and lost the use of their name, along with the censor’s office, where news from loved ones was literally cut out of letters.
Most significantly, we visited Nelson Mandela’s cell – the one in the picture above. Here’s another photo that shows more of the interior.
The furnishings consisted of a bucket, a stool, and a “bed” that was really just a mat on the floor. Jama allowed me to unlock the cell door and enter the space that had been “home” to Mandela for so long. First, I lay down on the mat – it was very uncomfortable, as you might imagine. Then I looked out the cell window onto the prison yard, just like Mandela did in the first photo. And I was overcome with emotion, inspired by Nelson Mandela’s courage and commitment. For you see, he never stopped fighting apartheid, even while imprisoned.
He and fellow prisoners, who were not allowed to interact, met in the one place in the whole prison where the guards left them alone: the cave that they had to use as a toilet. Because of the smell of the cave, the guards would not go in. So it was there that Mandela and his fellow prisoners discussed the future of South Africa.
Released in 1990 after the dismantling of the system of segregation, Mandela went on to serve as first president of the new South Africa from 1994 to 1999. And after retiring, he continued to serve his people. He’s now 93 years old, and one of the leaders that I admire most who I haven’t been able to meet. We had an appointment set up last year, but Mr. Mandela had a health problem that forced us to cancel. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to meet him, but I can tell you the lessons I’ve learned from him. This is what I took away from my visit to his prison:
- Our surroundings need not control our spirit.
- People who devalue us do not determine our value.
- Dreams can be birthed during the daily grind.
- Out of our brokenness, we can be made whole and bring healing to others.
A writer in the Bible’s book of Proverbs wrote, “A man’s gift makes room for him.” Nelson Mandela had no room in his cell, but his gift could not be contained. In time, his gift made room for him to lead and bless his country.