Leadership vision is what separates cohesive teams from scattered teams. Every new member you add to a team increases the complexity of the operation. Synchronizing the activities of many self-interested people is crucial to steering a business toward its objectives, but it is not easy. This is why leadership vision is essential.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at what exactly vision driven leadership means. Then, we’ll look at how companies can use leadership vision statements. In addition, we’ll dig into examples of leadership vision in action. Whether you’ve been working on teams for decades or you’re at the beginning of your career, this article should have something in it for you.
Vision Driven Leadership
Running a business can be chaotic. That unicorns-and-rainbows business idea you cooked up six months ago probably doesn’t have a contingency in place for when a liquidity crisis sends shock waves through the whole economy. It likely doesn’t account for an extreme supply chain disruption, or for when a competitor finds a way to undercut your costs.
To give a frame of reference for looking at leadership responses when unexpected obstacles arise, imagine a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, leadership adheres closely to whatever the original vision was. Such persistence may sound noble, but in reality, this dogged pursuit of past objectives often means failing to respond well to change. The other end of the spectrum involves a leader who pays such close attention to short-term changes that they sabotage the company’s future to keep up with every passing change in the winds of commerce. This abdication of long-term vision will leave a company floundering.
Vision driven leadership achieves a balance between those two models. It keeps the most important identities, goals, and values of a company’s long-term version front of mind, while also adapting the company’s day-to-day practices in response to the actual conditions of the world. A vision driven leader knows how to balance that tension.
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Leadership Vision Statement
As any manager will tell you, simply having the vision as the leader is not sufficient. You must share the vision with your team, help them internalize it, and help them align the goals with their own. One of the best ways to do this is with a leadership vision statement.
A leadership vision statement is similar to a mission statement. Both of them consist of formal use of language in order to codify the values, objectives, and vision that a company wants to hold onto even as the world around them changes. A leadership vision statement ensures your team won’t forget–and won’t have to continually re-discover–the company’s values and visions. By writing the vision down clearly, leaders and managers can give their teams a sense of calm, resolve, and focus amidst the changing tides. It allows for a quality Ernest Hemingway called “grace under fire.”
Leadership Vision Examples
Of course, it’s not enough to simply have a vision in order to successfully move your company forward. Not all visions or vision statements are created equal. Vision statements can be crafted in a way that makes them powerful and effective.
Successful vision statement examples tend to have several qualities in common. First, they are grounded in concrete and rational terms that allow for ease of understanding. They create a way to quickly evaluate progress. They are clear and actionable.
Successful leadership vision examples also often contain an element of charm: they are motivating, bold, innovative, and challenging. Finally, successful leadership vision statements are crafted for cohesiveness on their own terms and in terms of their expression of organizational values, objectives, and culture.
Here are some example leadership visions:
- LinkedIn: “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
- IKEA: “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.”
- Zoom: “Video communications empowering people to accomplish more.”
There is some quality – an optimism about what could be – that invades the thinking and vision of anyone who starts a business. People who start businesses are possessed by some impulse into the future. Maybe the impulse crystallizes around an idea for an innovative new product, service, or operational system. Or maybe it crystallizes around the positive change a company can make in the world.
Whatever the vision that moves each of us forward, each vision has the power to work amazing things on us as humans and the things we do/create. Leaders who intentionally harness the power of vision – whether their own or their coworkers – can do incredible things. They are not only able to inspire their oarsmen to row harder/longer, but they can also tell them if the ship is moving in a straight line or going in the wrong direction. We encourage you to write your own leadership vision statement, and see what it can do for your business.
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