Yesterday, as I was rummaging for my stash of gift wrap, I found my vision board. It was in the back of a spare closet buried behind coats, folding chairs, and some rather dusty hand weights. Needless to say, when I created it last fall at a coach retreat, this is not at all what I had intended. I had intended for it to be a visual representation of my personal direction and goals for 2011. It was where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to behave, so I had put a lot of thought and effort into carefully selecting the right images, words, and yes, even colors. I had intended to frame it and hang it above my desk so I could look at it every day, and at the very least, attempt to stay on track with that vision of my future self. And, yet, here it sat overlooked in the closet under the stairs, no thanks in part to the general business of life.
Vision is important. For as much as leadership is about influence, it is also about pointing the way towards what you are trying to build and why that matters. It’s all too easy when people are immersed in the practical day-to-day tasks of long work days and big workloads, of just going through the motions without connecting their actions to the bigger picture, of how what they are doing actually has meaning. Vision is the narrative that protects against the daily challenges and obstacles that will naturally occur along the way. What story are your people telling themselves? How well have you articulated the future you want their help in building? Are you just being tactical or inspirational in your leadership?
I am delighted I rediscovered my vision board. Because, now that I feel like I am getting back on track with where I had wanted to be, I am optimistic and energized.
(Author: Andrea Greenwell…posting assistance provided by MESailer)