One of the Biblical Proverbs states, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) An essential quality of a leader is the ability to discern, create, and craft vision with others. He or she then compels that vision forward through inspiration, coaching, and action. To have vision is to create a sense of hope within a team or organization.
Vision is about clarity, seeing what is around oneself and being aware of it. It is very much the practice of mindfulness put into action at a higher level of consciousness. So for instance when one does a meditation he or she may be concentrating on the body and breathing, while also being aware of surrounding sounds, smells, touch. Then one comes back to the centrality of the body. It is to have a mindful, clear sense of where context places one within the fuller sense of the world.
There is a quality of mindfulness about vision for an organization. As an organization breathes in and out it also flourishes. Seeing the organization in light of what one hopes for the world brings clarity and purpose. This clarity allows and creates space for strategic and tactical positioning in order to move toward the intended end. Vision is about outward thinking, but it is also aligned inward thinking. Vision holds movement toward mutually agreeable destinations. Visioning is an artful process but also grounded in observation and science. Without attentiveness and mindfulness “vision” may prove little more than one person’s imaginings. True vision gathers up a community and guides it forward. Kouzes and Posner’s Five Exemplary Practices of Leadership include the following: Model the Way,” “Inspire a Shared Vision,” “Challenge the Process,” “Enable Others to Act,” and “Encourage the Heart.”
Consider a time when you were able to inspire a shared vision? Of consider a time when you were part of shared vision. What difference did it make? How did your team members and co-workers react? What changes came about?
I remember a time when I had suggested we create a mind map of what a new model of delivering support to in home child care providers could look like. I started to create a web, and before I even realized what was happening the team members all picked up markers and were weaving a new vision together. It was that “spark” that got the campfire going and soon were all engaged in creating something new.
Somewhere in my files is that folded up newsprint mind map, the one that led to a new and renewed vision.