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Executive Leadership: Have A Vision & Communicate It Often
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Executive Leadership: Have A Vision & Communicate It Often - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Leadership: Have A Vision & Communicate It Often

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Leadership: Have A Vision & Communicate It Often

A few years ago, Google applied its vast resources to an internal problem: what makes a good manager? According to a March 12, 2011 New York Times article by Adam Bryant (Article Source), it looked at its own performance reviews and feedback surveys to articulate an eight-point list of qualities that its own employees considered necessary for good managers. At the top of the list was “Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.

It seems like a no-brainer, but even Scott Adams, Dilbert creator and author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, who insists that goals are for losers, confesses to regular affirmations playing a large role in his personal system for achieving success. In times when he most needed focus on a positive outcome, he affirmed his vision to himself on short-term objectives such as his GMAT score and longer-term objectives such as becoming a famous cartoonist.

Call it a dream, a vision, or a mission statement: there is general agreement among successful leaders that you’ve got to have one, and that it needs to be communicated clearly with everyone who plays a part in its realization, which means everyone in the company.

In The Executive Checklist: a Guide for Setting Direction and Managing Change, author James M. Kerr explains that “The dream, or vision, must become the stuff of rallying cries and express the common goal that the leader and team will share.” Kerr goes on to offer suggestions for attaining buy-in from everyone on the team, including a “Vision Trade Show,” complete with take-home promotional swag, where each team presents its contribution to realizing the dream. “Leadership,” says Kerr, “begins with socializing the dream for the future.”

Robert S. Kaplan, for Inc.com (Article Source), writes that “your vision should be a reach but it also can’t be pie in the sky. … In addition to its motivational value, a clear vision serves as a powerful prism through which you judge every action you take.” When the everyone in the organization knows the vision and understands his or her contribution to realizing it, decisions are filtered through desirable outcomes based on whether or not they get the team closer to the vision.

In Bryant’s 2014 book, Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on Creating a Culture of Innovation (Henry Holt & Co., 2014), Laurel J. Richie, president of the National Women’s Basketball Association, shares: “I keep learning time and time again about how important it is as a leader to have a clear vision and communicate it often. I get a little bored because it’s familiar to me, but I realize it almost has to become a mantra so that everyone on the team knows where you are headed.” Richie explains that a leader always begins with “all the bunnies in a box,” but when each bunny has its own great idea, it’s not long before of few of them hop out of the box, sight of the vision lost by the team. Regular communication of priorities and vision are a necessary part of the job.

Effective leaders have strong visions, and they communicate them regularly so that everyone is invested and knows his or her role in realizing it. Every other consideration, from managing people to technical expertise, falls in line after this first critical trait.

 

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