Talented people share three critically important skills. They are driven by an inspiring vision. They are great at communicating. And they exercise superior judgment. The important part is that they know you always have to start with vision.
To lead your business effectively today, you will benefit if you master those same skills.
Leadership always starts with vision. Henry Ford had a dream of a car families could afford. Steve Jobs dreamed of a computer that would unleash creativity. Nelson Mandela had a dream of an integrated South Africa.
All were heady ideas. They attracted a few sneers along the way.
They weren’t daydreams nor dreams of lazy people having too much time on their hands. The visions represented passions that were magnetic enough to capture the minds of devoted followers. Ultimately, they captures the imaginations of millions of people all over the world.
A compelling vision has power. It inspires, clarifies and focuses the work of an individual. It does so for as long as it take to make real.
Stop now. Take a hard look at yourself. Do you have a vision? What is it?
Often, rushing to get “it” done, you ask people to support your efforts. But, you never give them a good reason why.
Your vision doesn’t need to be as big as Mandela’s. It’s quite fine to start with something smaller. You could launch a new product, publish a book or implement new technology to do some improvements in the business.
[tweetthis]Just pick something that matters, something that excites you. [/tweetthis]
John F. Kennedy dreamed of putting a man on the moon. Eleanor Roosevelt saw a world of equal opportunity for women and minorities. Compelling visions like those can change the world. Staying devoted to them can be difficult when hard times arrive.
In times of severe unrest, the daily grind of keeping your business going can become all-consuming. Resources are tighter, changes in strategy are needed and painful decisions need to be made.
But as cloudy as the times seem, all of it will eventually pass. When it does, will you be ready to take new opportunities. Do you have a vision that will inspire you, your peeps and your customers?
Ready for a Huge Vision
I’ve been privileged to work with numerous small business owners. I have studied the successful ones to learn what makes them effective.
[tweetthis]It comes down to a few fundamentals. Vision is always first among them. [/tweetthis]
Great business owners give real thought to the values, ideas and actions they’re most passionate about. Without hesitation, those are the things they pursue. They don’t pursue money or prestige for their own sake. Nor do they follow someone else’s idea of a vision.
The visions they hold are challenging to put into action. It’s only realized by setting realistic, demanding goals. Then, they go after them relentlessly. Oh, yes, they have help. Help from other talented people who are equally committed and engaged.
Persistence and Inspiration
[tweetthis]When it comes to realizing a vision, persistence matters as much as inspiration does. [/tweetthis]
I’m fortunate to have a young grandchild. Whenever my husband and I see her, we enjoy listening to her dreams. She wants to be a ballerina.
We all have great dreams at her age. As we get older, adults start to talk us out of them. Even today, girls are told that math and science may be too difficult for them. That’s what they told me when I told people I wanted to an architectural engineer. By the time many of us have reached high school, we’re already focusing on our limitations.
There’s a big BUT here….It doesn’t have to be that way.
Wendy Kopp is a great example of how to develop a compelling vision. Not just create it, but fulfill it through great persistence. While many of her college classmates embarked on lucrative careers, she followed her passion. It took her along a different path. She wanted to make a change at struggling schools. She wanted to get her generation involved with education and poverty.
Kopp’s developed a novel solution: a national teaching corps.
She dreamed up Teach for America as a senior project at Princeton. Needless to say, her odds for success looked slim. She recalls how her academic adviser called the idea “quite evidently deranged.”
Why would the nation’s top college graduates give up a couple years of their lives to teach in the nation’s worst schools, when they could be traveling or climbing the career ladder in big, exciting cities?
Keep Your Eye on the Goal
Kopp knew the challenges. She had formed a lasting vision, though. She couldn’t let go easily. So, she raised $2.5 million in start-up funds, assembled a staff and launched a grass-roots campaign to recruit teachers.
The journey since then has not always been smooth.
Still, she has kept her eyes on the ultimate goal: creating a better future for Americans through better education. The record shows she’s getting results.
What about you? Do you have a clear, energizing vision? What’s yours, won’t you share with me in the comments below?