Leadership Effectiveness: Creating a Vision That Leads to Action

Leadership Effectiveness: Creating a Vision That Leads to ActionAn essential key to growth is a clear vision that is compelling, easily communicated, and widely understood.  However, when asked, many CEOs’ direct reports say they aren’t totally clear on the vision for the future of the organization they lead.  How is this possible?

Even a chief executive who is viewed as “visionary” might be leading an organization that is in a muddle about what the organizational vision is.

It takes energy, time, collaboration, and trust for an executive team to come to agreement and create a vision that is clear, compelling, easily communicated and widely understood. Effective implementation of the vision, “vision into action,” requires people at all levels in the organization to buy into the organizational direction and to be clear on their roles in achieving the vision.  John P. Kotter, in his seminal article, “What Leaders Really Do” (Harvard Business Review, December 2001), says that leaders (as opposed to managers) set direction that “results in visions and the overarching strategies for realizing them.” Further, he says that leaders align people with the vision and this “involves getting a large number of people, inside and outside the company, first to believe in an alternative future—and then to take initiative based on that shared vision.” Lastly, Kotter emphasizes that leaders use the vision to motivate and inspire people.

The task of leaders is to create an inspiring vision for the future and then effectively communicate that vision so that all employees are clear on how to make it happen.

Great leaders know that the vision is the starting point.  Alignment of strategy, values, and the execution of the vision will make the difference between long-term growth versus “not long for this world.” HBR published an article on the topic in May 2016, called A Simple Way to Test Your Company’s Alignment.

It stands to reason that, if employees know where the company is aspiring to go, what it is aiming to achieve, and what their roles are in achieving the vision … and if they are motivated and inspired … then they will be productive, creative, and committed to the organization’s success. Such an organization will knock it out of the ballpark.

Has your senior team validated the corporate vision recently?  Is it translating into action and results, and driving strategy and decisions so that effective goals are created and exceptional execution is carried out?

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