Over the next nine days, I plan to blog about nine ingredients that cannot be separated from quality leadership. Like Bonnie and Clyde or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers—they just go together. Any leader without them is incomplete or unhealthy. Since my blog posts are about leading the next generation, I’m hopeful these short articles will help you deepen your effectiveness as a leader, parent, coach or teacher.
In this post, we’ll discuss the idea of vision. A true leader cannot separate their leadership from a vision. Vision represents a picture of their goals or objectives. It’s is a blueprint of a preferred tomorrow. Vision helps people see in their imagination what is not yet visible in reality.
Every leader has a goal or an idea they are pursuing. Call whatever you want, but this is what separates leaders from followers. A follower either has no clear objective or they’ve adopted someone else’s objective. Leaders provide them for others.
I love the story of the creation of Disneyland, in 1955. Walt Disney chose to invite a retired Navy Admiral, Joe Fowler, to lead the project. Initially, Joe turned Walt down because he “hated California and his wife hated mice.” (I thought that was funny).
Eventually, Walt talked this retired officer into the job because he painted such a clear, compelling vision inside the man. Fowler came out of retirement to oversee the project almost 60 years ago. In 1971, Disneyworld was built. Can you guess who they approached to supervise the project? It was this retired officer Joe Fowler, once again. Ten years later, the EPCOT center was created. Guess who they asked to lead the way? It was Joe Fowler, who was now in his 80s. Each time, Joe insisted he was retired and finished—but the vision gripped him and he came out of retirement to oversee the task.
I think I know why Joe did it all three times. His weary, wrinkled body and mind were re-energized when a leader stepped up and cast a clear vision. People need purpose; they need a picture of a better future. Leaders do this.
Here are my questions for you as you evaluate your own leadership:
- What vision drives you today? Is it merely a routine or do you have a clear goal?
- Do others get passionate, energetic and creative by hearing your vision?
- Can people find a way to get involved when they hear your vision?
- Does your vision wake you up in the morning and generate momentum for you?