Visioning: See and create the future together

Visionary leadership is one of the top characteristics of great leaders.

Leaders who have this ability can see a better future for their teams and organizations. They’re very successful at engaging others in the process of creating that future together.

A shared, positive vision is far more powerful than many people would guess. In the absence of such a vision, individual members of a team – any team – are pulled toward their own visions of the future. Often these visions are poorly aligned. At worst, they directly conflict.

For example, some people are driven by great fear of the things they’re trying to avoid. They’re filled to the brim by graphic visions of the very things they dread. They may not realize how powerful these visions are, perhaps even leading them closer to the very things they wish to avoid. They need a compelling, positive vision to replace their fear.

Others, in their fervent desire to try to manage change, are motivated by visions of protecting the status quo, no matter what it costs. These visions can be helpful in the short-term, but in the long-term, they’re likely to freeze people, and organizations, in place – if that is even possible – as customers and competitors continue to move far ahead.

What happens if people in your company, or on your team, are drawn to, and working to implement, visions that conflict?

The result will be wasted effort, time, money and opportunities, as well as extreme distraction, and, in all likelihood, great conflict. 

It will be anything but a focus on customers, and the productive, shared effort that ensures that customers’ needs are well-met. Ultimately, of course, dissatisfied customers take their business to competitors, or decide to quit buying products and services like yours altogether.

Great leaders can gather and direct the full range of their team’s resources – time, talent, attention, energy, and budget – to create a strong and positive future for their companies, customers and team.