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The Danger Of "Vision Void"

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Do you ever wonder why a sense of listlessness surrounds your people and your culture, possibly far too often than you'd like to admit? Do your people spend too much time getting by and getting through the day, doing enough just for "the now?" Does your team find it harder to go on when met with difficulties? Does it take longer than you'd like for them to recover from setbacks? If the answer to any of these questions is affirmative, your company may be suffering from a widely present deficiency of leadership known as vision void. I refer to vision void as a deficiency of leadership because catching, casting and communicating a compelling vision is the responsibility of leaders.

What is the vision for your organization? Do your people understand the vision and their role in it? Do they know what's in it for them if they achieve it and are they excited about what they'll become in the process of pursuing it? If the answer to any of these questions is "no", you're trying to lead an organization without vision: one of the greatest tools and responsibilities of leadership. Vision setting and casting is a process. There are articles about it in our archives and resources available to help you develop a vision. As a management team, where the vision must originate, discuss the following points concerning vision and resolve to get busy steering your company with the fixed stars of vision rather than the drifting clouds of circumstance.

1. Vision is our "end." How we get there is the "means." In order for there to be intensity with the daily means, there must be an obsession with the end by the promise of a better future.

2. Having a bold vision allows the team to borrow inspiration from the future in order to put more power into today. When vision-driven, an organization more easily rebounds from difficulties and persists in the fact of obstacles.

3. When people understand the role they play in the quest to fulfill a bold vision they become more as people by extending themselves in the process of the vision quest. Uninspired employees who put forth mediocre efforts not only do less, they end up becoming less in the process. This has serious negative ramifications for the worker and the organization in the long term.

4. Failure to form, articulate and strategize the path to a bold vision is the result of neglect on the part of leaders. It is not the responsibility of followers to develop a vision for an organization. Ideally, they will enlarge, refine and add to your vision. But if a leader doesn't see more, sooner and farther than his followers he may not be the leader for long.

5. For a vision to be credible, it must be simple and specific. People should know exactly how to measure their success by understanding what it'll take to reach it and should be able to articulate the vision quickly and convincingly. If they can't understand it, they'll never reach it.

One last word on vision: Your people will never buy into what you want to do until they first buy into you as a leader. If they're not excited about where you're taking them, very often, they're not excited about you. This is why the best leaders lead by relationships, not by rank. To see how well, or how poorly, your organization is driven by vision, ask the managers at today's meeting to write down on an index card the vision for the organization. Don't let them confer. Collect the cards and write the answers on a flip chart. If the answers don't match within a few words of each other, you have serious work to do. Because if your leaders aren't on the same page with your operation's vision then I can assure you the rest of your team hasn't a clue where they're going; much less how they'll get there.

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