Can you be an effective leader without clarity of vision and strategy for yourself and your team? Think about this a moment… Stop here a moment and focus on this question.
Did you notice that by focusing on this question, you had to give your attention to it? When you focus, you are tapping into the brain’s basic navigating tool. You had to make a decision to turn away other thoughts floating through and focus on the question at hand. “Focus” is a basic way that the brain operates to guide your choices. What you focus on expands in your awareness. What you give your attention to is sending a command to your nervous system that the object of attention is your goal—for better or for worse. When you coach and engage your team into creating a clear vision and strategy, you are increasing their focus on where the company wants to go. Of course, allowing people into the process not only increases the likelihood of ownership; innovative ideas could also be an added benefit.
If you want to engage the minds and heart of your team, you must be able to paint a clear and emotional vision and implementable strategy. Of course, just writing a vision down and putting it in the drawer or on a PDF file will not engage people’s passion, commitment and accountability. If you design an impeccable “big data” management strategy without taking into account people and their roles, skills and needs don’t be surprised when your organizational change initiative becomes a part of the 70-80% Failure Club.
Just having a design on paper remains theoretical until implementation brings it to life. The vision and strategy must be articulated and designed clearly and the stakeholders/people must be engaged in the process. This takes creativity and mental agility on the leader’s part. Otherwise vision and strategic planning is simply more busy work, unproductive meetings and mindless activity. If this were your scenario, it would be little wonder that people do not see the value of vision and strategy.
I came across Google’s 8 Rules for Effective Leadership the other day. I’m glad to see that their analytics revealed the fairly obvious list of what makes for an effective leader. It is important to many people to have objective data and research upon which to base their decisions on and it really can be useful. The one Rule though that really stood out to me that was strange however is Rule 7, “Have a clear vision and strategy for the team” which was next to last. This list was created based upon order of importance in a descending order. I’m curious, how can one…