Lead with Vision

Leadersip model - visionThe next dimension of the Leadership model is Vision.  Leaders at any level need to have and be able to articulate a vision to their organization.  This provides a sense of purpose and direction for all within the organization.  The Vision should define where the organization is trying to get to or what it is trying to achieve.


An effective vision should have the following aspects:

  1. Be inspirational
  2. Articulate an end state
  3. Provide a sense of purpose & direction
  4. Be time bound
  5. Be difficult but achievable, even if you currently don’t know how to get there
  6. Provide a role for all involved

A very famous vision that I think is a great example that includes all of the key aspects is as follows:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so

US President John F. Kennedy before a joint session of Congress May 25, 1961

difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations-explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon-if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

After the vision is created, I think it is also important to create mission statements. Mission statements are more the values in which the individuals within the organization are expected to behave or demonstrate as they work together towards the common and shared vision of the organization.  Although it is important to achieve the vision, you also want to do so in a certain manner based on specific principles and values.

It doesn’t matter how big of an organiztion you lead, nor if there already is an existing company vision, I believe that it is still important for any leader to create a vision and mission within their team.  It is obviously important that the team vision/mission aligns with the overall company vision but it should articulate how or what the team will do or what role they will play in supporting the larger vision.

Together with my teams, we’ve created a Vision and Mission statements in the last several roles and companies I’ve been a part of.  Below is an example of one of our Visions/Missions from a few years ago.

NPRC of Choice

We used the above Vision and Mission statements to align mutliple different functions and departments of a fairly large organization.  It not only brought the teams together, but was also used to explain to other stakeholders and customers where we were trying to go and how were going about getting there.  We also used this as a roadmap to measure our progress and identify our gaps.

Creating a Vision and Mission statements can be a great team building exercise and can be a lot of fun.  It provides common and aligned direction for the organization over a long period of time.  It acts as an organizational compass and can define how individuals and teams work together.

The reality is that most people want to be led, but following a clear direction.  Your job as the leader is to lead them, but they aren’t mind readers.  Clear and articulate vision and mission statements will guide them towards the vision you have created.

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