Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 2

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis
Recently, in a workshop on team leadership, an operations manager said, "It starts with a vision. Then you guide your team along the path to reach the goal."
So well said.
It reminded me of one of my favorite definitions of leadership. The late great thought leader Warren Bennis once defined leadership as the ability to translate vision into reality.
Twenty years ago, there was a lot of discussion on leadership vision. Someone coined the phrase "the vision thing" to sum up the importance of having and communicating a vision.
This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago, Solomon understood this. In Proverbs 29:18, he said: Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Whether you are a leader of others, or a leader of Self, vision is the start of any undertaking, any change, anything new.
And it starts with the man or woman in the mirror.
~ Who are You?
~ What do you stand for?
~ Where have you been and where are you going?
When it comes to leading others and leading organizations, vision provides direction, focus, and a positive image of a brighter day. In that respect, it even provides hope.
It's incredibly hard to predict the future with any degree of certainty. But I am convinced that you can create the future you desire.
What we need, when it comes to designing or changing organizations, is a vista on the future.
VISTA for Leaders
V = Vision of a better future. The leader's vision of the desired state is a positive picture of possibilities. It provides an attractive alternative to the unsatisfactory status quo we find ourselves in now.
I = Inclusion of others generating ideas in an improvement-based culture. Leaders don't do anything alone, especially the ideation required to invent the future. With full participation of the team and others who have a stake in the future, the buy-in will flow from their involvement.
S = Situation assessment of the current state. "Where are we right now?" is the proper question for starters as it will establish what's working well (that should be preserved) and what needs to change.
T = Targets identified for the improvements that must be made for any real change to occur.
A = Actions aligned to the aims. (More on action in the next article.)
The word vista means a pleasing view or prospect, a vision of the future (from the Latin videre "to see").
With a positive vista on the future you desire, you can create the energy to make it happen in your organization.
About this series
In this article (second in a 3-part series begun with this article on relationship), we looked at vision as it relates to leading. In the next, we will look at how a leader takes action on that vision to make it a reality.
Terrence Seamon helps managers become engaging leaders. Follow him on twitter @tseamon

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