Why do so many organizations struggle to hire quality managers?That’s a big question. But let me offer two reasons. There are two myths that we still buy into when it comes to leaders. Check out this video to find out what they are.
If you are an experienced or seasoned leader, what other skills do you need to develop so that you don’t rely only on that experience?
If you are a young or inexperienced leader, how can you gain experience quickly and accelerate the learning curve?
A leader also needs to have vision for their organization, department, and/or team.
Where many leadership books fail is when they don’t take the next step to tell you how to cast vision. It’s not enough to merely know your vision. You must be able to communicate both your personal vision and organizational vision. A vision not shared becomes a powerless dream.
So how do we communicate our vision in such a way that inspires the people around us?
Author and leadership guru, Andy Stanley, outlines two key steps to casting vision effectively.
The first step a leader must take after discovering her vision is to embrace it personally. What does this mean? It means that she embodies the vision and starts putting it into practice. She lives it out.
Many leaders make the mistake of communicating a vision that doesn’t match up with their lifestyle. There can be no duplicity between the vision and the leader’s personal life. They must be unified. If there is a difference, that’s called hypocrisy.
If your vision isn’t resonating with your team, the first question you must ask is “Is my life a living representation and ambassador of this vision?”
After embracing our vision personally, the next step is that we must proclaim it publicly. We have now earned the right to share our vision because our words will match our actions.
When it comes to communicating our vision publicly, there are three stages of communication.
Individual Buy-in: If we are casting a new vision that could face some opposition, we must begin by getting individual buy-in through private conversations. You can do this in 1:1 or small group meetings. This is your opportunity to share your vision and answer any questions people may have. It also gives you an opportunity to practice sharing your vision so that you can articulate it as clearly as possible.
Inspire First: After getting individual buy in, it’s time to share corporately. The mistake many leaders make is that they bury the lead. They focus most of their speech on the “how.” How are we going to accomplish this vision? Don’t get caught in the weeds. Your primary goal is to inspire your team. You need to explain the “why” of your vision. Why is this vision important? What impact will accomplishing this vision have on the company or team? People don’t care what you do until they know why you do it. As the title of Simon Sinek’s best selling book says, “Start with Why.”
Repeat and Reward: Another mistake leaders make when proclaiming their vision publicly is that they communicate it once and then stop. The problem with this is that vision leaks. People get busy and forget. The day to day responsibilities of their job choke out vision. In order to make your vision stick, you must repeat it. There are two ways to do this:
Share the vision regularly. This should be done weekly. The famous Ritz Carlton has gold standards of customer service. Each employee gets a small card with the standards printed on it and they are required to carry the card with them at all times. At the beginning of each department’s shift, they regularly go over the gold standards.
Reward people whose behavior emulates the vision. Remember – “what gets rewarded gets repeated.” Reward those team members publicly and not only will they continue to put the vision into practice but it will spread to the rest of the team.
Think about the last time you had to cast vision. Maybe you were sharing a new initiative that your department or team was focusing on. Or maybe you were simply communicating your family values to your kids.
How did this vision casting session turn out? What could’ve been done differently?
This vision is basically your personal definition of success.
The reason discovering your personal vision is so important is because:
It gives you direction. It shows you the destination for your personal life. And it also serves as a scoreboard. It shows us whether we are winning or losing in our personal life.
It gives you the blueprint on how to live a fulfilled life. If you are not experiencing fulfillment, there is a good chance that you are not consistently living out this vision.
Once we have taken time to discover our personal vision, the next step is that we have to give it feet. Put another way, we have to make it practical and create steps that lead us to our destination.
What is your “Rule of 5”? What 5 activities will have the most significant impact on helping you accomplish and live out your personal vision? Write them out — then, share them on social media with us (tag @shawnwelchco so we can see!)
The question I usually get after talking about personal vision is “Why? Why is it important to discover your personal vision?”
I’m going to answer this question with two more questions:
Do you feel fulfilled in your life right now?
Are people inspired by you consistently?
If you are like me, the answer to that question is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer. It’s more complex. There are some areas where I feel fulfilled and other areas where I don’t. At times I think I inspire or motivate others but there are also moments where I fall short.
So this is the reason it’s important. Your personal vision gives you insight into why: why you don’t consistently feel fulfilled and why you don’t consistently inspire others.
Before I explain more, let me share my personal vision statement:
To equip leaders to become the best versions of themselves.
My purpose in this world is to help people maximize their potential. To help provide them with the tools and resources they need to accomplish their personal and professional goals.
Let’s get back to those questions.
Question #1: Do I feel fulfilled in life right now?
Simon Sinek remarks, “Happiness comes from what we do. Fulfillment comes from why we do it.” Your “why” is your personal vision. When you understand your personal vision, you now have the goal or destination of your life. The next step is to create avenues in both your personal and professional life to live out your personal vision.
I have found this to be true in my own life. The seasons of life where I am helping others maximize their potential are the seasons where I feel the most fulfilled. And the moments where I don’t feel fulfilled are the ones where the busyness of life gets in the way and I don’t prioritize my personal vision.
The more opportunities you have to live out your personal vision the more fulfilled you will be.
Question #2: Do I inspire others consistently?
The reason we struggle to inspire or motivate others is because we are not inspired. You have to inspire yourself before you can inspire others.
Your personal vision serves as the fuel for inspiration.
Your goal each day is to live out your personal vision by competing against yourself (not others). Work to become the best version of yourself (not someone else) with the resources that you have been given.
When you compete against yourself, it gives you the platform to take the next step which is inspiring others.
How do you inspire others? You share your personal vision with them and invite them to join you on the journey. This is basically Leadership 101. You inspire and influence others so that they can become the best version of themselves. As Simon Sinek says, “The goal is not simply for you to cross the finish line, but to see how many people you can inspire to run with you.”
How can you live out your personal vision? What are some avenues or areas in your life that will help you accomplish your personal vision?
Who do you need to invite to join you on the journey? Who can you invest in and help them become the best version of themselves?
What is your purpose in life? I know that can sound like a very philosophical and maybe even daunting question to ask.
Or how about if I asked you what success looks like in your personal life? Again, many of us would struggle to answer that because at times it’s hard to know what the scoreboard looks like.
How different would your personal (and maybe even professional) life look if you knew your life’s purpose?
We all have an innate, unique life vision. This vision transcends our job and gets to the core of our purpose in this life. You don’t create your life vision, you discover it. And the good news is that finding your personal vision is not an esoteric exercise. It’s a very down-to-earth process initiated by asking yourself a few questions.
What are the 5 things I do better than most people?
This question is about your strengths. It’s not about comparing yourself to others but in identifying those natural gifts and skills that you have been given and refined over the years.
After you take some time to list out your 5 strengths, share them with a family member or close friend to review and provide further insight.
You can also take an assessment to help you get a more accurate understanding of your strengths. I highly recommend StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Gallup.
If money were no object, what 5 activities would I fill my time with?
The answer to this question helps you articulate what you are truly passionate about. Those people and activities that are the highest priorities in your life. In essence, you are creating your personal core values.
What are the 5 most influential events or stories from my past?
These are your significant stories. These could be positive or uplifting stories that we wish we could relive over and over again. Or they could be heartbreaking stories that we never want to revisit. Regardless, it’s important that we take time to lean into these stories — especially the difficult ones — because sometimes the most challenging moments of our life are the ones that are most significant in shaping who we are today.
When you think through your significant stories, be specific. Think of a specific time, place, setting, and people. Get past the facts of the story and think through the emotions you were feeling. What impact did that story have on you? If the story involves someone else, what contribution did you make to them?
I first became acquainted with the power of significant stories from the book Find Your Why by Simon Sinek. Sinek comments on the importance of these stories, saying, “At its core the WHY (personal vision) is an origin story. Who we are is the sum total of all the experiences we’ve had growing up—the lessons we learned, the teachers we had, and the things we did.”
To take your significant stories exercise to the next level, I highly recommend that you find a trusted family member or friend to share these stories with. The simple act of sharing our stories with someone else will help us identify potentially hidden lessons that we couldn’t recognize on our own.
What are the common themes?
As you look at your answers to questions #1-3, what are the common themes you see? What areas of passion, that you are also good at, are a part of one of your significant stories (where you used that passion/strength)?
I recommend that you try to come up with at least 5 different themes. It is also beneficial to bring a family member or trusted friend into this process to help you identify those themes. They will bring some valuable insight.
What is your personal vision statement?
After you have identified your themes, the next step is to narrow them down to the one or two most significant themes. Then, summarize those theme(s) into a short sentence or phrase. Don’t worry about getting the words just right. Create a rough draft, let it sit for a few days, and then revise it accordingly.
One you’re finished, just like an organization has a mission statement, you now have your very own personal vision statement.
I would encourage you to set aside some time to go through the personal vision discovery process. Here’s a recap of what you need to do:
Answer questions #1-3 on your own.
Find a trusted family member or friend and share with them your answers (set aside about 2-3 hours for this step.)
With your trusted family member or friend, answer question #4 on your own and then compare your answers. Then, together, narrow down your themes to the one or two most significant themes.
With your trusted family member or friend, answer question #5 on your own and then compare your answers. Revise accordingly.
Post your personal vision statement in a place where you can see it regularly and after a few days revise it. Keep revising and sharing it with others to get their feedback. You will know your statement is “complete” when you share it with others and it inspires both you and them.
If you need help going through the personal vision discovery process, send me a message via social media or on our contact page. We can schedule a complimentary introductory session and begin the discussion to help you discover your personal vision.