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Leaders are responsible for creating a compelling vision. Organisations may have a compelling vision, but is their vision working? Just having the components of a compelling vision doesn’t make it effective, many organisations have great visions, but how many are working?
I judge the effectiveness of a vision by the action it generates. Is the vision generating action with the people? James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book “The Leadership Challenge ” illustrates this principle as follows:
“Imagine you’re driving along the Pacific Coast Highway heading south from San Francisco on a bright, sunny day. The hills are on your left; the ocean, on your right. On some curves, the cliffs plunge several hundred feet to the water. You can see for miles and miles.
You’re cruising along at the speed limit, tunes blaring, top down, wind in your hair, and not a care in the world. Suddenly, without warning, you come around a bend in the road and there’s a blanket of fog as thick as you’ve ever seen it. What do you do?
We’ve asked this question many, many times and we get the same answers:
- I slow way down.
- I turn my lights on.
- I grab the steering wheel with both hands.
- I tense up.
- I sit up straight or lean forward.
- I turn the radio off so I can hear better.
Then you go around the next curve in the road, the fog lifts, and it’s clear again. What do you do? Relax, speed up, turn the lights off, turn the radio on and enjoy the scenery.”
I found this a great illustration on the importance of a clear and compelling vision. As leaders we’re not able to do everything ourselves, we rely on others to act on our behalf and vision is essential to help us align the action of others. A clear and compelling vision gives people the freedom to take action.
- A vision works when it enables others to act
- A vision works when it tells a compelling story
- A vision works when it inspires
- A vision works when the next steps become clear
A challenge for you…
- So, how is your vision working?