Leadership Tip of the Week: Vision

Good visions start with good dreams.

Visions are important for organizations. A vision implies that the leader possesses and communicates a positive, compelling, and moving goal that followers can connect to group goals, motivating and inspiring followers to achieve excellence.1 Visions provide focus, motivation, inspiration and can steer organizational change. Creating a vision can be a daunting task for leaders, causing them to struggle with where to start. I recommend starting with a good daydream focused on answering this question: “What would my organization (or team) look like if it were perfect?” Throw out any constraints or limitations. Take the opportunity to dream of the perfect organization.

Now that you know what the perfect organization looks like, you can start identifying all of the things you need to influence in order to achieve that ideal state. Build a plan to attain that dream, and you can now call it a vision.

I have a fun classroom exercise where students describe their dream vacation. They have no problem  with this. They depict the scenery, the food, what the water looks like, the people they are with, etc. After they describe their vacation, I ask them why it is so hard to dream about the ideal state for their organization or team. That leads to a great discussion about how dreaming can build the framework for a leader’s vision. We also discuss how our fears and apprehensions limit our ability to pursue those dreams.

A leader’s dream can help them create a transformational vision for their team, so stop worrying about all of the things you can’t do and start imagining all of the things you can do.

1Frese, M., Beimel, S., & Schoenborn, S. (2003). Action training for charismatic leadership: two evaluations of studies of commercial training module on inspirational communication of a vision. Personnel Psychology, 56, 671-697.

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.