Vision for the Future
Directions, maps, and a clear system are all excellent tools to speed up the process to reach your goals quickly! However, if your goals or vision are ambiguous then no amount of tactical work will move you or your team in the right direction. The vision of where you are going must be clearly defined, understood, and accepted as reasonable to be fully beneficial.
Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges define Servant Leadership in the following way, “Servant leadership starts with a vision and ends with a servant heart that helps people live according to that vision.”
Moses a Biblical Character in the book and story of Exodus practices servant leadership. This includes compassion and also the empowerment of the people as seen in the story of Moses taking his Father-in-law’s advice in Exodus 18:13-27. Moses practices servant leadership by delegating and empowering his team. This allows the people of Israel to follow God’s word, the law.
What is your Vision?
Where are you going?
The question bears repeating, where are you going? Where are you going in your personal life? As the leader where are you going professionally in your organization?
Ken Blanchard shares on Servant Leadership and states that
“If your people don’t know where you are going and what you want to accomplish, then what are the chances of them ever getting it done?”
As I was thinking about those questions, I just could not get a story out of my head, I am sure I have shared it before.
A few years ago, a friend shared a story he heard Billy Graham tell as the keynote speaker honoring the delegates to the United Nations in New York:
“Being here in New York reminds me of a story about Albert Einstein. Some years ago the great thinker was on a train bound for New York City.
As the ticket taker walked through the car, Einstein reached into his pocket to retrieve his ticket, but he could not find it. He frantically searched his coat pockets and turned his pants pockets inside out, but still, he could not produce the ticket.
The ticket taker said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Einstein, we all know who you are. Forget about it.’ About twenty minutes later, the ticket taker came back through the car, and by this time Einstein was on the floor searching everywhere for the lost ticket.
Again ticket taker tried to reassure Einstein by saying, ‘I told you not to worry about the lost ticket. We trust that you purchased one, and that’s good enough for us.’
Einstein looked up at the railroad employee and said, ‘Young man, this isn’t a matter of trust but of direction. I need to find the ticket because I forgot where I’m going.’”
Do you know where you are going? Are you headed toward your destination? Successful people know where they are going. And they have a plan for getting there.
Pause, Reflect, and Plan to Move Forward“Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk.” – J.C. Penney Click To Tweet
My good friend and mentor, Jim Lundy, would often say:
If you don’t know where you are going
…any path will get you there,
…but you won’t realize if you’re lost,
…you won’t know what time you’ll arrive,
…you won’t know the dimensions of your challenge,
…others won’t understand how they could help,
…and since you could pass right by without recognizing it,
…you won’t get the satisfaction of having arrived!
I learned early in life that it was important for me to pause, reflect, and plan so I knew where I was going.
But I also learned that it was even more important to clarify the vision (goal) – the direction in my personal life and in the workplace for the entire team so we would go down the right road together.
Likewise in your personal life and with your workplace team, you can reach your destination much sooner by avoiding an ambiguous vision. Listen to more insights on our Podcast with an interview with Shawn Lovejoy as he talks with Bobby about the traps young leaders fall into, including not understanding their why.
An Ambiguous Vision
Consider the following example to illustrate the adverse effects of an ambiguous vision.
Imagine that you are at a family reunion picnic and decide to try your hand at a game of archery. You select your bow and receive as many arrows as you wish. And when you step up to the line, you notice there is no target in sight.
Then someone who is overseeing the game says, “Okay, select an arrow, draw your bow and shoot!”
What do you do next? Do you just stand there waiting for further instructions? With no defined target, I bet you would hesitate to draw your bow.
But, let’s say you shoot one arrow just to see what would happen. If you shoot, you will learn what it feels like when you do not know where the target is.
Without the feedback of seeing how close you came to the target; you could not adjust your aim to hit closer to the bull’s eye. Because there is no bull’s eye!
You would have no way of knowing if you even came close to hitting the target. In other words, you could not gauge your level of success.
A Clear Vision Brings Fulfillment
Insight: An ambiguous vision in your life and in the workplace without adequate feedback leads to confusion and frustration.
Achievement and recognition are two of the best motivators. And for our personal life and as leaders, we should provide ourselves as well as our employees with a chance to seek and achieve fulfillment in our and their endeavors.
But first, the vision of where you are going must be clearly defined, understood, and accepted as reasonable to be fully beneficial.
Your personal life and your organization need a vision for the future so actions can be corrected when targets are missed, and so you and they can feel the deserved satisfaction when targets are hit.
You and they also need a clear path for where you and they are going.
Einstein is best known for his groundbreaking work in physics. But his reaction to a lost train ticket reflected an even more fundamental truth: knowing your destination is of the utmost importance. We can apply the same truth to our life and leadership.
Pause and Reflect
- Where does your ticket say you are going?
- Do you have a clearly defined vision in your life and in your workplace?
Related, Articles, Videos, and Podcast Episode
Have you read my earlier blog posts on goal setting? Here’s a list with a link to each post:
- Your First Step to an Extraordinary New Year. Pause and reflect by asking, “Where have I been? and “Where am I now?”
- A Mindset to Accomplish Your Dreams. Dream and use six key “principles” to think as you are asking yourself “Where am I going?”
- 5 Tips to Accomplish your Goals. Get more done by using five tips to guide your thinking about your goals.
- Write Effective Goals for the New Year. Follow a simple two-step process to write effective goals
- Now is The Time to Act on Your Goals. Five steps to gain traction on your goals now.