In the words of Henry Kissinger, “A leader is someone who takes people where they would not have got by themselves”. Leaders move people from where they are to where they should be. To lead effectively, therefore, a leader must possess a number of essential qualities, but perhaps the most important one of them all is the ability to craft and cast a compelling vision.
A vision is a vivid picture of a preferred future. A compelling vision is a vision that inspires people to action. That’s why it must be crafted – it must be defined with skill. It must be engineered to stir people to take specific steps that lead to specific outcomes. Crafting a compelling vision is the primary duty of a leader.
To execute this task successfully, you must take the following steps with precision:
- DEFINE POINT A – This is where your team is at the moment.
- DEFINE POINT B – This is where your team could (or should) be.
- ANSWER THE QUESTION “WHY?” – Identify the most valuable benefits of making the trip from POINT A to POINT B. This is where the real work is. If your reasons for the trip are not valuable enough, people will not be inspired to take the trip with you.
- CAST THE VISION. The most important thing after crafting a vision is how you communicate it. What makes a vision compelling apart from the valuable benefits it confers, is the passion you evoke while communicating it. If the vision does not move you it will not move your team. If it moves you but does not move your team, then the benefits you have presented are not valuable enough. At your presentation, your people must SEE that the gain is worth the pain.
COMPELLING VISIONS ARE CONCISE AND MEMORABLE. Habakkuk said, “Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run” (Hab 2:2 MSG). If it can’t be recalled at a moment’s notice, your vision is too complex. People don’t run with complex visions. As a leader, your duty is to take a complex assignment and break it down into simple steps that can be understood and executed.
This means that for you to craft a compelling vision, you cannot afford to share everything you SEE at once. All you have to do is SHARE THE NEXT BIG THING and give your team strong enough reasons to pursue it with you. When you get to POINT B, cast the vision for POINT C. Too much information will distract and sometimes discourage your team. Show your team what they need to SEE right now and save the rest for later.
COMPELLING VISIONS DEMAND REPETITION. Sharing it once is not enough. You have to use every means available to you to communicate it, and you have to keep communicating it till it becomes a reality.