Organisational Leadership (2) – Casting A Compelling Vision
Casting a compelling vision is such an important part of the role of a CEO or Business Owner, or anyone who leads an organisation. Casting a compelling vision is a more difficult task than it sounds. ‘Vision’ must be a compelling picture of a preferred future that ideally comes from deep inside a leader’s heart.
Vision should be clear and easy to understand. Catchy slogans can help but true vision must be fuelled by a leader’s passion. Then the vision will be continually motivating even in challenging times. There will be many tasks involved in fulfilling a vision but tasks in themselves are not motivating. Smart leaders learn to stay focused on the vision and not the problems that will inevitably crop up along the way.
A company or organisation’s vision statement should clearly and simply sum up what they are trying to do through their collective efforts. Everyone within the organisation needs to be able to understand what the vision is and have some level of motivation (beyond just drawing a wage) to want to contribute to bringing the vision to pass. Casting compelling vision is never just about making money or growing a large organisation but has some measure of adding value to the lives of people, or bringing positive change to the world.
Casting a compelling vision involves a leader in helping each of their team to see how what they do is contributing to the bigger picture. One of the best ways for a leader to do this is to be continually on the alert of good news stories of how the lives of people are being impacted by the efforts of hard working people within the organisation. This can be everything from great examples of how an excellent customer service attitude made someone’s day, through to how a product or service has changed someone’s life for the better. The more personal the story the greater the impact will be. Sometimes an employee will only catch the company vision when they get this kind of feedback and realise that they have been part of making a difference.
The story is told of two labourers working as part of a huge project several centuries ago in Europe. Both men worked hard from early morning until dark in all kinds of weather. It was back breaking work. However, though they both did similar work, the attitude with which they worked could not have been more different. One of the men had a scowl on his face, and dreaded every moment of his work day. He performed the tasks of his job but was miserable and full of complaining. However the other man was cheerful, motivated and, no matter how hard the load or cold the day, seemed to have a good attitude. When asked why he was so happy doing such menial work, he replied, “I have the privilege of being part of the construction of one of the great Cathedrals of Europe that will last for centuries and bring glory to God.” His motivation came because he saw how his efforts contributed to a great vision that he believed in.
How would you rate your organisation at casting a compelling vision casting? Have you been able to assist people to see how the work they are doing is making a difference?
As you learn to do this well, you will find that your organisation’s vision will become more real and motivating. Your team will see how all their daily tasks are contributing to impacting lives. They will feel good about themselves and their work. If you also reward excellence, share the credit and give continual encouragement, your team will dig a little deeper in terms of energy, creativity and commitment. Everyone wants to know that their work is making a difference to people’s lives. Good leaders know this and are able to tell the good news stories often that will lift their team.