Every great leader needs to be able to develop meaningful relationships, take calculated risks, and build a resilient spirit. In this episode of the podcast, Jeremy Couch interviews Kenworth Reeves, Jr., an entrepreneur, real estate investor, and relationship-builder who has the ability to not only create ideas, but to take action and make those ideas become reality.
In this episode of the podcast, Jeremy Couch has a conversation with Robbie Harper of Blue Bridge PR about his involvement in helping spread the word about Stetson Baptist Church’s initiative to pay off $7.2 million in medical debt and fund three foster homes. They not only discuss this amazing and powerful story of impact, but they also talk about the important role of PR and positive messaging in helping get your story heard. This inspiring story demonstrates what can happen when you have a vision that turns into action.
A link to the story can be found HERE.
Connect with Robbie and learn more about his work and the viral impact of this story HERE.
In this episode of Leading Well, Jeremy Couch interviews Mark Goldstein, president of the Central Florida Christian Chamber. In 2009, Mark took over the struggling organization and re-built it with a new vision centered on relationships. Ten years later, the Christian Chamber is a thriving organization that serves the Central Florida business and faith community. In this interview, Mark talks about his journey of taking over the Chamber and believing in faith that God had called him to lead this organization into a new future. Mark provides some great tips and insights on trusting God and believing in a vision that is bigger than you.
As you enter a new calendar year, perhaps you are taking time to step back and re-evaluate your organization in order to gain clarity about where you are, where you need to be, and how you’re going to get there. That’s essentially strategic planning, and it’s important exercise for all leaders to engage in on a consistent basis. Whether you do it at the beginning of the year, end of the year, around a fiscal year, or another set time, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you do it and you do it consistently.
However, sometimes the process can feel like a drag because it’s not something you naturally get excited about doing. But it doesn’t have to be that way! It can be fun, energizing, and engaging, and it can provide you with tremendous clarity that will help you focus on what’s most important for taking your organization to the next level.
In order to help you, I’ve developed a set of “Seven Essential Questions” that every leader must be able to answer about their organization. In this post, I’m going outline the first three questions.
QUESTION #1: WHO ARE WE?
“The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” -Thomas Carlyle
The most important question to ask first addresses your identity, and it’s made up of three parts:
– Purpose: why you exist. This is the primary reason for everything that you do; it gives meaning to your work.
– Mission: what you do. This helps you know where to focus your energy on what you do best.
– Values: what you believe. This shapes behavior and clarifies what you stand for as an organization.
QUESTION #2: WHERE ARE WE GOING?
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” -Helen Keller
Next, you need to get clear about your preferred picture of the future for the organization–your vision. In order to develop a compelling vision, it should be: Vivid, Inspiring, Succinct, Intentional, Optimistic, and Noteworthy.
When you effectively create a compelling vision, it will produce passion in the people you lead.
QUESTION #3: WHAT IS OUR CURRENT REALITY?
“An accurate, insightful view of current reality is as important as a clear vision.” -Peter Senge
The third question takes some courage because it requires you to confront the current situation for your organization, which is not always fun to do. Perhaps things aren’t going well. That’s ok — the worst thing you can do is to pretend like everything is fine! Take some time to be honest and objective about where you are, what’s going well, and what’s not going so well. A simple tool to help you with this process is a SWOT analysis:
S – strengths: affirm what you do best.
W – weaknesses: identify areas of deficiency.
O – opportunities: examine opportunities for growth.
T – threats: identify potential threats to your success.
These first three questions provide the foundation for your strategic road map. Spend some time working through these questions and gaining as much clarity as possible because it will help you tremendously in developing a sound, cohesive strategy for your organization.
In the next post, we’ll look at the remaining four questions, which focus more on formulating the goals, strategies, and performance indicators to help you move forward with intentionality and clarity.
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.