Vision leaks! This is one of many leadership lessons my mentor has taught me through the years. Tragically, many leaders miss this elementary truth. The mistake is explainable, but not excusable. The thought goes something like this; Since the vision is still burning in our inner most being, we make the fatal assumption it is still vibrant in the hearts and minds of those we are attempting to lead. Wrong!
Earlier this week I was walking down my driveway only to discover that we had a small waterline leak. It started out very small, however within hours it grew exponentially until water was pouring out from under my driveway and my water meter was in fast forward motion (can you say ka-ching $$). Needless to say I shut the water valve off and called my plumber to replace the waterline.
In a similar way, vision that leaks makes the leader’s work exponentially harder. It starts out very small, however within time, the vision has large leaks. So, how can you and I keep the vision front and center for our team and organization and minimize the leaks? The answer is both simple and challenging. Below are a few action steps to consider.
Make it Clear: Are you as the leader crystal clear on your vision? One of my mentors who is a pastor always challenged me with this thought: If it’s a mist in the pulpit, then it’s a fog in the pews. Until the vision is clear to you as the leader, it will not be clear to others. Leadership always begins with a picture of the future. You cannot create what you cannot envision – and neither can you communicate it.
Make it Simple: Are you sure your key coaches and leaders on your team and in your organization know your vision? Do they use the same language (words and phrases) to describe it? If you embrace the challenge of communicating your vision (daily), you will want to enroll your leadership in the effort. Clear and simple communications is a core value in all high performance teams and organizations. The vision and message must be simple and it must be aligned.
Track It: How often are you currently talking about the vision? Keep a record for one week and track how much you are talking about the vision. Every time you mention or illustrate the vision, make a note of it. You may decide to ask your key leaders to do the same. This will either heighten your awareness regarding the challenge ahead, or affirm your current actions. For most leaders, it will be a wake up call – the reason your organization is not talking about the vision…is because you are not talking about it.
Work the Work: To make your vision an active part of your daily life and communication it will require work! It will require thought, preparation, focus and discipline. Here’s an action step for you to consider. On Sunday evening look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Consider every meeting or connection you will have over the course of the next five days. Plan ahead how you can link the work or the conversation to your vision. Commit to use every opportunity to reinforce the vision. You may be surprised by the outcome.
Yes, vision leaks! However when the leader makes the vision clear, makes it simple, tracks it and works the work to communicate it and reinforce it over and over again; then those you lead will do as well. Stop the leak, because if you don’t, it will prove very costly.
Have a great week!