I’m currently teaching an undergraduate class on Organizational Leadership, and one of the key topics we recently discussed was vision. This is one of those words and concepts that evokes various emotions, with many people getting excited about the idea of vision and others thinking, “Oh no, here we go again with the vision talk.”
The reality is, vision is essential for energizing and focusing any organization on achieving something of significance, whether it be a business, start-up, non-profit, school, or church. As Bill Hybels likes to say, “Vision is one of the most potent weapons in a leader’s arsenal.” It’s potent because it can inspire passion in people and enable them to see the possibilities that the future holds.
How do you define vision? There are different ways to think about it; here are a few:
Most people would say that vision is a preferred picture of the future–a picture of what could be. Hybels says it’s a “picture of the future that produces passion in people.”
In her book Dare to Serve, Cheryl Bachelder talks about creating a “Daring Destination” for your team — a high aspiration that energizes and mobilizes them toward high performance.
In Built to Last, Jim Collins & Jerry Poras introduced the idea of a BHAG — Big Hairy Audacious Goal. A BHAG is a huge, bold challenge that is clear, compelling, unifying, and focused.
All of these are great ways to look at vision, and each of them can be helpful to you as you work to create a clear and compelling vision. But at the end of the day, how you define it is not near as important as whether or not you (a) create it, and (b) pursue it.
So the tip for leading well is this: take time to renew your vision of the future for yourself, your team, and your organization. Find out what produces passion in you and your people. And then, commit to taking massive action toward that vision. You’ll never regret it! Now is the time.