Sounds a bit fluffy right? Or maybe it sounds a bit vague, a bit . . . Abstract, but having a common vision is something that you need to have with your team, both up and down. In the military this is called the commanders intent, and as mentioned previously the vision and the belief that goes with it are one of the most important aspects to being a leader.
Vision is what makes the end goal reachable instead of a seemingly impossible mountain range to scale. Vision is also exactly what you will need to fall back onto when motivation starts to wane or run out. When things get difficult, the mental picture of the dream is what is going to keep driving you and your team forward.
But here’s the best part . . . I’m not even going to talk about goal setting, or anything along those lines just yet. We’re not even at a point yet where we can start to define what a goal looks like—but if you have a vision, then as a leader, and likely a manager or even a director of a company you’ve got something to work toward and that’s something. But your vision is one thing. It needs to be a vision that is shared by those around you. If not then you’re set for major hurdles. People who aren’t aligned with your vision will slow you down or worse.
Not so long ago
I’ve dealt with people who not only believe that success is measured in a single number, but the same people who want to see leadership in the office are sometimes the same people who show absolutely none of it.
Imagine being asked by a senior manager who after another year, wanted to see where people saw themselves within the organisation in the years to come.
How would you answer that question? Chances are it would be pretty difficult if you hadn’t thought about it. The internal mantra within the organisation had been the same for years and the organisation hadn’t really changed in quite some time, so instead of giving an answer—you might ask the question of “What’s your vision for the company? Where do you see the organisation going? What do you imagine for the future?”
So the conversation’s just been reversed—more so to find out what the vision for the future really was. The answer for this scenario was shocking.
“I want to know where people see themselves, and then I’ll work around that!”
Put yourself in this situation. Every single primal alarm has just been simultaneously set off. You’d feel violated . . . in complete meltdown.
Now imagine a manager who had said on multiple occasions that the office lacked leadership who’d just openly admitted that they had no vision, no dream, no goal, & no mission to work toward.
The most horrific part of this scenario is the admission that there are no hands on the steering wheel—in fact the driver is missing in action.
A way forward
But here there is also Opportunity. At times where there is no defined vision or visions without belief (Weak Vision) the opportunity for fresh thinking, new goals and leadership become available.
But whoever leads in this case, has to make sure that the vision is aligned with those around them.
One way or another—there must be a vision . . . a goal for the future, an end state, and it has to be aligned to those around them. As a leader one thing that is critical to remember is that you will have people around you who want to succeed—who want to make a difference.
As a manager it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse—to know what people want, but also to know how people are thinking of getting there. But as a leader it’s vital to give those around you a path for them to direct their energies and efforts to those goals. When the visions, hopes and dreams of those around you are aligned and common, then strategic development as well as the ideas to solve potential foreseeable obstacles not only become readily available, but also enthusiastically executed.
So what happens when people aren’t aligned? Quite simply, there becomes a very real possibility that people start to pull in divergent or opposing directions. Divergence leads to loss of mutual support, and opposition is destructive forcing things to grind to a halt, or even preventing a start in the first place.
Being aligned with the intentions and visions from above will mean that you’re likely to get support from higher up, while having those aligned around or below you, will ensure the vision will gain support, as well as the coordinated effort to make the vision a reality.