My last post began a discussion of lessons I am learning from working with some outstanding leaders. Leaders who are focused on:
• becoming better, stronger leaders,
• transforming their organizations, and
• having greater impact in the world.
Sometimes becoming stronger means taking a step back and becoming more reflective. Business moves very fast today – and destined to move even faster.
The human mind is often overloaded and unable to fully integrate what is happening or to understand the overarching implications of daily decisions.
To be able to truly grow in a sustainable way, it is often necessary for a leader to take a step back and look more closely at what is happening and what it is they truly desire. When you see what is really happening, there is often action needed to “clean-up” as I wrote in my previous post.
Looking forward, leaders often do not have a clear sense of where they want to take the organization in the next two to five years – or they may know on some level, but they have not clearly articulated it to themselves or anyone else. Or they have only expressed it in a very limited way.
Vision statements are often buried deep down in a website. The vision is not anything the CEO knows without looking it up and reading it. This is a sure sign it is not her or his deeply held vision.
Sometimes leaders feel as if the organization is driving them instead of them creating the future they desire for the organization. So after Lesson Zero (the clean-up) – move on to…
Lesson One – Get clear on your vision. Then, as the leader, begin to share that vision with your valued partners. Consciously creating a shared vision sets the foundation for teams and boards to move forward together.
How do leaders do this?
They dig deep within themselves. They develop an understanding of what is truly most important and what impact they want to have in the world.
This answers their ‘why’.
Why are they here, doing this work?
The bigger the vision, the better, because the bigger the vision, the more opportunity to invite others to help. No one cannot can accomplish great things alone. You need a whole team of collaborators rowing in the same direction. A big vision makes this possible.
Then, leaders commit to making their vision a reality, like nothing else.
Next, they begin to share with others on a heart level – they share what they are trying to do and invite them to join.
One visionary leader shared with me:
“I am not used to being so transparent. It is a new level of honesty. I did not know the power of connecting with people from the heart. This means sharing something highly personal! Too often I have thought the facts were the most important thing – but when I am engaging people on a deeper level, facts are not the most important thing. This is revolutionary.”
People deepen engagement through their hearts. This is how you cultivate allies and partners who will do anything to help you accomplish your vision.
Honest vulnerability is perhaps the newest muscle we over-achieving control seekers need to build. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable and to be deeply present – to oneself, to the team, to your partners and the board.
This is generosity. It is a fuller giving of yourself. And it works.
It is how Stuart Frantz, CEO of Biologics grew his company by 70% year in and year out from 2010 until today.
It is how the Greater Raleigh Chamber and other strategic nonprofits such as Wake Up Wake County worked together to develop a community plan for transit that has an excellent chance of getting funded in the general election this fall.
It is how the very top achievers in any field succeed.
How has having a clear vision helped you build an organization? Please share how below.
Are you a CEO or an Executive of a nonprofit interested in continuing the discussion?
Join me for a morning Executive Round Table in Washington DC on October 19, 2016, or
in Cary, NC on November 11 for a one day retreat for nonprofit business executives and let’s continue the conversation about creating impactful sustainable organizations.