“The very essence of leadership is you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
Yesterday I watched the shuttle Atlantis launch in the distance. One of the many perks I find living in central Florida. It was a picture perfect day and watching the shuttle arc into the sky and out of sight never fails to stir my emotions. It also reminded me how important it is for a leader to have vision.
I was born in the early 60’s and grew up with the space program. As a child I often heard the recording of President John Kennedy as he laid out his vision to the country to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. I knew even then that this was a time like no other.
Kennedy’s vision for putting a man on the moon was ambitious, to say the least. The technology to put a man in flight, much less on the moon, was not even created when he cast his vision. But it captured the hearts and imaginations of Americans and focused the team at NASA.
There is a story that President Kennedy was worried at one point early on that not everyone at NASA was totally committed to his vision. He went to meet with officials at NASA to personally reinforce that vision. Once there, he stopped in the restroom where he met a janitor cleaning the area. The President asked him how he was doing, and the janitor replied, “Great, I’m putting a man on the moon.” The President left NASA relieved of any worries as it was clear to him that ALL the employees there were focused on the vision.
Do you have a vision? Is it ambitious, inspiring, and motivating? Does it encourage people to be a part of something bigger than themselves and can they connect with it emotionally? Do you share your vision clearly and frequently so that people understand what they are driving towards?
Take this opportunity today to give yourself a “vision check-up”. If you find you have not articulated your vision clearly and with passion to your team, chances are they are not very focused on achieving it. Remember, your job as a leader is to stretch them and take them to places they haven’t even thought about going.
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