How many times, how often, how many different ways have you heard people speak about, explore and attempt to explain the importance of vision?
Over breakfast, a friend and I landed on this topic.
We had been exploring one of 752,000 topics that we try often attempt to cover in ninety minutes, and something struck me.
I looked up and said: “Vision is imagination put to work.”
Our ongoing collaborative relationship is indicative of how valuable live, in-person conversation can be. All the more reason for you to find ways to spend time with your folks that is not framed as a formal meeting or a One to One.
Every day that you have breath in your lungs, you have ample opportunity to align yourself with how great leaders THINK… and what they do, which is; To sell vision.
At the opening of my book “The Ultimate Sales Manager's Guide”, I state: “Vision precedes everything.”
Since the publication of that book, many readers have indicated that they felt it was as applicable as a GENERAL management book as much as it was geared toward Sales Leaders. This particular statement seems to have resonated with many people.
What is encouraging here is how that base philosophy allows me to work hand-in-hand with lots of folks (Presidents, C Suite Exec, etc.…)
And, how often, vision gets lost in the Thunder and rush of the day.
We are all busy completing tasks. We are all busy, squeezing more productivity out of our day.
At the VERY least twice a year The Ultimate Leader will sit back and invest a few moments thinking about their vision. They ask themselves about the depth and level of success they are achieving in enrolling and engaging their people in that vision.
In my view... it's all about the language.
This is encouraging, because this is not about your level of formal education or your comfort in speaking in front of people. This is about bringing your message to everyone on your team clearly - and with inspirational language.
If vision proceeds everything, it follows that we apply pressure on ourselves to articulate what our vision is. This requires clarity. It requires analogies. It requires regular consistent modeling of what you believe your team is capable of accomplishing.
Sitting in a conference room in a medium sized bank in Southern California recently, the president asked me: “Am I really expected to love my people?”
My response was: “You don't have to love them. You have to love what they're capable of.
This demands a vision for every person who reports to you.
As you communicate that vision, it needs to align with the overall vision for the team.
If "vision precedes everything", we as leaders, are expected, instructed, encouraged; To walk the walk and talk the talk.
“Vision precedes everything.” indicates the power of language. The facility and the flexibility of it. The musicality of it. Do not ever lose sight of the fact that what you do what you say how you respond are all being observed by people that report to you and; by your peers. If you are on the path to a “C Suite” role, this is critically important.
Your vision needs structure. Your vision needs color. Your vision needs imagery and language that will resonate with a broad swath of humans.
Leading finance folks? What is it that makes them tick?
Leading an IT team? Why are these folks working for you as opposed to a competitor?
Leading a sales team? There is no such thing as spending too much Face Time with your “A” and “B” level performers. Your C- Level performers should be on the way out or on the way up to be level performance.
Keep in mind; we humans like to talk about ourselves. Maybe one of your folks is an introvert. That's great, fine and wonderful. This doesn’t mean that they will not be comfortable speaking to you about their hopes, their wishes their dreams… in some comfortable setting.
Leaders must understand what makes their people tick - what they hope to achieve and - most importantly - what it is that they want.
Now, here's the kicker; you do not get to ask them. You must, through relationship, through listening, through patience and paying attention - you’ve got to ascertain what it is that your people want.
With the concept of vision is imagination put to work, we are charged with crafting and delivering inspirational language.
We are expected to ask questions about people; their attitude, mindset… their sense of accomplishment and connection to what we are doing.
Regardless of when in the calendar year you happen to be reading this find some time in the next 48 hours to be alone to be undistracted enter craft A 3- sentence vision statement for you and your team.
Vision perceives everything.
Now you can get to work.
 We will discuss this concept in more detail in another blog post.