Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Vision casting”

Leaders Bring Clarity!

We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.    2 Corinthians 11:6     (NIV  1984)

One of a leader’s primary contributions in the mission is to bring clarity to those they are leading.  The old saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there” is true for many.  Leaders who fail to bring clarity settle for busyness and the assumption that lots of activity must mean that we are accomplishing something.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As a leader, you have a platform to influence others through what you say and do.  You will be quoted and you are being watched by others as they seek to follow your lead.  Making sure that your quotes are worth repeating and that your example aligns with your mission and values is essential for clarifying direction.  Intentionality and forethought are key.

The enemy is seeking to sow confusion and doubt about the mission direction and outcomes.  He started with Eve, causing her to question God’s clear mandate about not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Today’s pace of life and rapidly changing context also add to a lack of clarity on what we are doing and why.  It’s clear for a moment and then that clarity fades very quickly as we engage in life’s activities.

As the leader, it is your responsibility to insure that there is no doubt as to what the mission is and what the directions / outcomes are for all.  You will need to over-communicate this many times and in many ways, knowing that what is clear for the moment will become unclear as time passes.

The art of this ‘over-communication’ is the ability to say the same thing in many different ways so that it is heard and not dismissed.  If you simply repeat the same thing, your audience will tune you out.  Keeping the main thing the main thing and keeping it in clear focus for those you lead is a challenge!

Leaders bring clarity to the main thing!  Keep the focus tight and clear!  Don’t let mission creep sweep in and divert what was once a sharp, clear focus on your mission, values, and strategic directions.  And just because you said it once, does not mean that you are understood or remembered.

How’s your clarity?  Are you continuing to bring clarity on the main thing to those you lead?

Vision Casting

Our vision tells us where we intend to go–where to aim–and helps us keep our focus. We see this future clearly now, but as we move forward it becomes more real—more clear.

Vision statements must be far enough into the future that there is time for change. They also must be “big” enough to allow for faith and the “touch of God.” If they are too far into the future or too big they tend to be thought of as dreams or wishful thinking instead of action-producing statements that move the passions of those touched by them.

After identifying our time horizon, we begin by describing what we see in the future of our work. It is as if we are taken into the future and are able to gather the entire work together in one location and take a picture of it. We then try to describe the picture that we see in words.

To describe this future picture, we begin by saying,, “By the year 20xx, we see…”  Vision casting is describing this picture so clearly that others can see it with you and also see their part in making this picture become a reality.

One last thought. As we begin another year have you asked and answered the question, “What are you asking God to do in your work this year?” Are you praying specifically? Are you asking in faith? Or is it just another year filled with much activity and people?

I hope that you are asking a BIG GOD for BIG THINGS! Remember, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2 b).

Casting Vision

Once our desired future state is clear, it is the leader’s job to communicate this vision so that others can ‘see’ it along with them.  Tom Clancy’s book, “Into the Storm: A Study in Command” (page 504) provides a great illustration of vision casting by a leader.  Gen. Freddie Franks was leading the VII Corps in Desert Storm and in the midst of the fog of war it became apparent that the final outcome was not clear.  Gen. Franks provides that needed clarity as described below.

“But I’ve been around tired troops, and these troops were tired…though clearly not down.  They were running on fumes now, but they wanted to finish it.  I could imagine what the troops who had fought all night felt like.

“As I looked at the map, a piece of blue representing the Persian Gulf was just visible at the far eastern map sheet.  It caught my attention.

“Attack east,” I told them.  “Go for the blue on the map.  That is what is bringing the ships to take us home when this is over.  Go for that.  Here!” I said, banging on the map.  Not too military, but I wanted them—as clearly tired as they were—to have something to seize on to propel them forward another twenty-four hours.  As Greg Fontenot was to tell me later, my remark “Go for the blue on the map” got all the way to the battalion commanders, and maybe further.”

How’s your vision?  Is it clear?  Can you communicate it clearly and simply to others?  Where is the “blue on your map?”  Go for the blue on the map!

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