Vision Alone Is Not Enough

Are you too focused on the vision?

Vision Alone Is Not Enough

Are you too focused on the vision? Wait a minute! I am the leader. Isn’t vision one of the main things that I need to provide to my organization? — Yes! Vision is vital to the future of any organization. But just having a vision is not enough.

To be clear, most organizations do not die for lack of vision. In fact, vision and goals abound in many organizations today. Consider with me for a few moments about what to do with a vision and what your role is in moving beyond having a worthy and lofty vision.

What more is there than just having a vision?

Here are the rest of the things that we need to do with a vision all along the path for our organization once we get a sense of what that vision looks like. Consider this as the “total lifecycle” of vision for you and for your organization.

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The Importance of Vision

But, can you execute the vision?

The Importance of

We have already come to the end of the first month of the year 2016. I cannot believe how swiftly this year is progressing. Many of you made resolutions. Did you write them down? They are just ideas until you write them down. They only become real goals when you write them and commit them to paper.

May of you have a vision in your head about how 2016 would look by the time that 2017 would be knocking on the door. Having a clear vision of what or where you want to be is vitally important from a leadership perspective. But let me ask you this:

How will you make your vision a reality?

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Vision, Foresight, and Observation

Are vision and leadership synonymous?

Vision, Foresight, and Observation

Are “vision” and “foresight” the same thing? Or, more importantly, are they synonymous with “leadership”? Let me say quickly that I do not believe that they are synonymous. Consider this as a follow up to last weeks article about a quote that has been attributed to Henry Ford. In that article I called him a “foresighted innovator.” I equated foresighted innovation with being a leader. So, does that mean that Henry Ford was therefore a man of vision? Does that mean that he was a leader by many of the other accepted leadership definitions?

I find myself reflecting this week on a Bible passage that you may hear occasionally when some other types of leaders wish to address their followers. Personally, I have seen it used when church leaders want to speak to the issue of visionary leadership. Here is that often misquoted (and occasionally misused) scripture.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”. 

It is found in the Old Testament in Proverbs 29:18. It is used many times from a church pulpit to exhort us to catch the vision that a pastor has seen and to encourage us onward to the destination that has been seen in the vision.

Having vision, communicating a vision, and catching a vision are all vital skills for leaders and followers alike. But I submit to you that there is a BIG difference between being a visionary person and being a leader.

Let me explain my thoughts this way.

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Vision provides the “What” – Leadership provides the “How”

The How and The What

My personal journey toward understanding leadership began many years ago. It began in a medium-sized church in Marietta, Georgia in 1983.

Prior to that point I had been an observer. And I had observed some incredible leaders. I would put my own father in that category. His leadership in many areas are an inspiration to me to this very day. But I have observed many different leaders in these past 32 years. I learned as much as I could from men like Bill Searcy, an entrepreneur and small business owner in the Atlanta metropolitan area. He owned a Firestone auto repair shop. I owned a piece of junk Chevy Celebrity that went through 4 sets of brakes in 2 and a half years. It was a “lemon” and I didn’t realize it. We were destined to spend time together. He taught me more about leadership than just about any one else early in my leadership journey. I owe him a great debt of gratitude.

That kind of observation over the years has shown to me that there are two distinct skill sets that are identifiable among those who would consider themselves to be leaders. There are those that “see” what needs to happen. And there are those who “make” it happen. My observation is that it is actually “vision” that provides the “what” or the goal and objective. But it is “leadership” that provides the “how” and the plan to execute the vision that has been laid out.

Let’s consider for a moment those two skill sets:

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Wise Leaders Keep an Eye to the Future

Wise Men Leadership

We are close to Christmas Day. And we are given an opportunity each year to review the greatest story ever told. Also, there are leadership lessons that are in this story that are present if you will look for them.

Consider today some leadership lessons from the Wise Men.

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A Leadership Mission . . .  Statement 

Leadership Mission Statement - 1As I have mentioned before, I am involved in a men’s biblical study at my church.  It is the book “Stepping Up” by Dennis Rainey.  Its good stuff and I suggest it, if anyone is looking for something.  One of the things I like about it, is it could be adapted to anyone in any walk of life, including young men.  Last night we had some discussion on a mission for our lives, this turned into a discussion that maybe we should write a mission statement for our lives.  On the drive home, it occurred to me, that maybe to be a leader, you needed to have a mission statement.  More on that in a bit . . .

Where I developed the vast majority of my leadership skills and techniques, our missions were given to us.  We were never really privy to how they were selected, or who selected them.  However it was up to the team members to develop the plan for achieving a successful mission.  Now we always had some operating parameters that we had to deal with, “rules for the playground” we called them, but rules nonetheless.  So our typical mission briefing was — Here is the objective, Here are the support options, How do we get this done? Then there was typically an hour of how, what, why and when questions.  My point is only that the goal was ever revealed to us in that setting.

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