by Evan Hackel
An exclusive excerpt from my upcoming book, Ingaging Leadership: The Ultimate Edition
Are you merely working, or are you building toward the best possible future you can achieve? And what about the people who work in your organization? Are they ingaged with you to build something that will last, and maybe even make a permanent contribution to the world we live in? The first step toward meaningful work is creating a vision for what you want to achieve in the world.
For an organization to thrive, it requires a robust vision that it can disseminate to the world. The need for such a vision is fundamental and straightforward. If every individual in an organization understands the company’s intended direction, and is aware of their roles and responsibilities in actualizing this vision, the result is a harmonious organization operating like a rowboat powered by coordinated rowers. Everyone is rowing in unison, towards a common destination.
On the contrary, an organization where individuals are unclear about their destination, often leading to conflicts and divergent efforts, resembles a rowboat spinning incessantly in circles. While this may seem obvious, many companies find themselves spinning due to an absence of a strong vision.
Why is this problem so common, considering that implementing a few basic leadership practices can offer the entire enterprise a clear direction?
Identifying the Roadblocks
Running an organization can be challenging and complex, which is often why organizations overlook the importance of focusing on a long-term vision. There’s immediate work that demands attention! Companies hire marketing teams to enhance marketing efficiency, social media experts to devise strategies, sales consultants to boost sales, and tech-savvy individuals to keep abreast with technology trends. While all these efforts are necessary, they can also lead to that rowboat that spins aimlessly, unless steered by a vision-guided leader who can align these diverse talents with the company’s vision.
Furthermore, a style of management that I humorously call “mushroom management” is prevalent in some businesses. This approach thrives on keeping everyone in the dark – just like mushrooms. Why does this occur? There are several reasons:
- Leadership may genuinely lack a vision as they are too consumed in day-to-day business operations to formulate one.
- Leaders may have a vision, but assume it’s inherently understood by all since it appears clear to them . . . but not really clear to others.
- Leaders may possess a vision but hesitate to share it due to fear of judgment or mockery.
Some leaders are fearful of charting new territories. If no one has ever shared a vision with them, why should they? They overlook that a robust vision can make them significantly more potent than their competitors. “Dare to be different” is a philosophy worth considering.
Building Blocks of a Vision
Although one executive’s vision differs from another’s, they generally encompass certain elements:
- A lucid declaration of the company’s intended destination, such as becoming the leading manufacturer of glass fiber panels in the U.S.A, or the top vocational training institute in a specific field.
- A detailed plan outlining how the company intends to reach the stated goal. This could involve entrusting employees with leadership roles, or deploying technological solutions to design and deliver products to the market.
- A proclamation of deeper societal or human values. While it’s not mandatory to declare that your enterprise will positively impact your local community, if such thought forms a part of your belief system, why not include it in your vision statement?
In conclusion . . .
When you have this kind of clarity, you can accomplish anything. But without clarity, what happens is you go in one direction, then the next direction, chasing the shiny object.
Let the world know where you’re going, and you will make it happen.