Do you cast a vision like a toddler with a Fisher Price rod, or a Bassmaster with a Pflueger Supreme.  For the non-fishing enthusiast, professional anglers have a knack of casting their lure far and accurately.  Landing it just where there are fish that grab that lure hook, line, and sinker (forgive the cliché.) Giving people a solid vision is a primary method of leading well.  Ancient wisdom literature stated that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Are your people perishing?

Vision gives people direction, hope, and motivation - three things vital to success.  Direction allows people to multiply work efforts because they know what tasks/work need to be accomplished.  Hope given by a strong vision lets people envision a brighter tomorrow.  A brighter tomorrow gives meaning to a person’s work.  Meaning in work overwhelmingly produces better quality work.  The other things a well-painted vision does are to create urgency, innovation, and focus for your staff in the midst of unclear times. If I can look back at a compelling vision when I feel a bit lost, it focuses me and I keep pressing on towards the goal.  Urgency is created because of a strong call to action that needs to be part of the visioning process.  So how does one cast vision for those you lead?  Here are a few guidelines to consider in order to improve your vision-casting ability.

Visions are value laden.  They give people meaning.  Too many people lead their vision casting with the “Whats” -What needs to happen.  This is exactly opposite of how you should start.  You should start with the “Why”.  Why do we do what we do, and why is it important? Communicate a larger belief behind the “Why” before you communicate the “What”.  For further study in this area please reference “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek or check out his TED presentation.

Make it personal for yourself and others.  Connect your personal belief in the larger Why,  and invite others to hitch their wagon to that larger belief. A good vision connects people’s personal missions and beliefs to a larger cause.

Make your thoughts crystal clear – I have to vet my ideas sometimes until they are clear and understandable, and most importantly, compelling.  So know what you want to say before you say it.  This is not the time to speak spontaneously.  Refine your ideas and the wording as much as time permits.

A Couple of Technical Notes:

  • Use vivid language and paint a picture for people to visualize.  If you can create a vivid image that people can recall, the vision is more likely to be remembered.
  • Use allegories or stories as a way to communicate the vision.  It lends itself to creating that memorable vivid image.
  • Involve others in fleshing out the details of the vision.  Once you have a direction established, let others make input into that vision.  It allows them to paint themselves into the picture of the future.  It empowers them.  You get buy-in. It helps create a richer vision.  They can now see a future with themselves in it.

To Summarize

1.     Start with the Why. Connect larger core beliefs with the intended outcome .

2.     Make it personal for you and them.  Help them to see “Why should I care.” or “What’s in it  for me.”

3.     Vet your vision before you present.

4.     Use vivid language that powers  the story and creates  a memorable image.

5.     Involve others in vision creation to promote buy-in.

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