What Happened to Vision?
I’ve heard some people say vision is an over-used term and others say the concept is outdated. I’ve noticed a general lack of interest on the part of leaders at all levels. They might give it lip-service, but the basic message is. “Ok, now let’s get back to business.” slide… The Kenyan education system did not allow for me to have big dreams/aspirations. I went to school to pass my exams and get good grades that would then allow me to become the professional that I am. There was no room,
let alone time for me to think about what I wanted to become or find the problem I wanted to solve. I knew that in order to be someone worth my salt, I needed to achieve good grades and make my parents proud. None of this, by the way, is wrong in itself. But I wish that we had been taught/allowed to dream; to come up with ideas and then encouraged to pursue those ideas and see what would come of them.
I am not a victim and it is nobody’s fault. It is just what it is. The past does not define our future but we cannot move into our future without addressing our past. Remember, we are products of our environment. In order for us to move into our future, we must address our past and embrace change. Change is not good and we all resist it because it causes us tremendous pain and it gets us out of our comfort zone. However, this change is necessary for us to realise our potential. And guess what, since I was not “allowed” to dream then, I have nothing to stop me from dreaming now.
My vision is to Transform Leaders from the Inside Out and thereby Transform Nations for Christ. How am I going to do this, you may ask? Well, I don’t have all the answers but what I know is that I have captured an image of the future I envision and an idea of what that future holds. My vision is the thing inside of me that guides me. It creates a desire to grow and improve. It embodies my hopes and ideals. It gives me a sense of purpose and brings me flashes or glimpses of what is possible.
We’ve all had a glimpse of the future. You know, that time when you imagined running your own business… or that dream of traveling to an exotic place… or that bold idea for a game-changing new product… or that burning desire to get an advanced degree… or that sense of purpose you felt when you signed up for the medical camp… or that calling to join a cause and make this a better planet… or that uplifting sense you got when picturing kids playing in a neighbourhood without fear. All of us dream of what might come to pass someday.
For some reason, these dreams remain in our heads and many of the times we are too ashamed to share them because we do not feel worthy to take up the cause. The one or two people we share these visions with tell us to “get you head out of the clouds, it is impossible to achieve such a lofty dream, get serious!, so you will be the genius who will save us?” and the list goes on and on. The people who discourage us are more than those who believe in us.
What follows is a practice exercise that you can use to develop your vision:
Step 1: Get in touch with your true desire. What is important to you? What do you care about? What do you really want? A vision comes from the heart. It must be truly meaningful to you.
Step 2: Begin to determine the actions that must be taken to achieve the vision. These actions become the specific goals that are to be accomplished. A goal is a target, an end, or an objective. It is the accomplishment of these targets–or goals–that brings you closer to your vision.
Step 3: Identify the barriers or roadblocks that may get in your way. It may sound negative to spend your time and energy thinking about barriers or problems, but there are good reasons for this. Find out more.
Step 4: List the Benefits. If you spend time listing the problems or roadblocks you could encounter, you will find it much easier to generate a list of benefits you would receive when you achieve the goal. The question that then needs to be answered is, “Do the benefits make the goal worth achieving?” If the answer is yes, you know that it is worth tackling the problems to achieve the benefits of goal attainment.
If you use this exercise frequently, you will find that expressing your vision in a compelling and clear manner will soon feel very natural.
Crossing the chasm from individual contributor to leader requires fully embracing the need to develop the capacity to envision the future. Making the transition from average to exemplary leader, regardless of level, requires the dedication to master it.
What is your vision of the future? Do you even have one? You say you are a leader and yet, you cannot clearly articulate your vision for the future.
I am concerned about the current lack of interest around vision in leadership. The Good Bookclearly states that my people perish for lack of vision. Our country is perishing for lack of vision in our leaders; political, spiritual and corporate. You see many leaders of nations are fighting for power and money, rather than creating peace and human progress in communities, the world and in their nations.
And how does a new leader develop the capacity to be forward-looking, to create a vision?
The answer is deceptively simple: spend more time in the future. You have to carve out more time each week to peer into the distance, imagining what might be out there. You have to take the time today in order to have the time tomorrow. Join us on the 30th of March 2019 as we peer into the distance and explore pathways to breakout from your comfort zone thereby allowing you to begin the journey of creating a vision for the future.