What you are about to read may be found in the Bible but
it also applies to your professional life.
Most leaders neglect to provide a statement of vision to the
people they lead and when a vision is presented it usually
lacks any vitality or inspirational value.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish" - that's the
warning given to the King Solomon [in Proverbs 29:18].
And the prophet Habakkuk is commanded to, "Write the vision,
and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that reads
it, for the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at
the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait
for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry [Hab
So your vision statements must serve three important
1) Those who you lead need that vision or their efforts will
fail to achieve anything of long-lasting value;
2) Your vision must be written in clear, plain language so
that your people will be able to run with its meaning;
3) A vision refers to some appointed time in the future and
though it appears to be delayed in coming, it will
eventually become your reality.
An Element of Purposeful Action!
You need verbs. Use your statements to convey action. Your
actions must be focused on producing some effect, result or
You could discuss it - but that will not satisfy the desires
of our human hearts. Your vision must fulfill others and not
leave them with a sense of emptiness.
You should say something that matters to others, something
that will impact their lives, something that gives them a
Give their efforts, activities or striving a worthy reward.
An Element of Compelling Reasons!
Your leadership is the reason. Why do they want to follow
you? What "because" will your vision provide them with? How
come we need to do this thing, this project, this venture?
Your statement must give a set of compelling reasons for
taking action. These reasons must be compelling, inspiring,
critical, exciting, essential to your group.
I love those CEOs who slither up to the microphone and tell
their fellow employees that they should be motivated to
slave away so that the company can 'increase shareholder
value'! After the speech, ask those employees about the
percentage of their ownership in that company and you find
out that the employees only own about 0.1% - not even enough
power to vote in a single director.
Increasing shareholder value is not very exciting to anyone,
including shareholders - they are motivated by the amounts
of money they actually earn - cash-in-hand, not promises of
An Element of Trustworthy Purposes!
Psychologists say unemployed people are usually depressed,
sullen and lethargic. It's a scientific fact that people
living with little or no purpose are unhappy and are more
likely to think about ending their lives.
You and I are at our most effective when we are fulfilling
our purpose. Job titles are important because those
designations tell people that there is a purpose for their
work, their organization and profession.
Your title is not the only indicator of your purpose but it
does give you a sense of purpose, doesn't it? We find it
easier to trust in and rely on the promises of a worthwhile,
Your vision statements should give the group a purpose that
is worthy of their trust, loyalty and commitment.
An Element of Valuable Identity
Do your statements portray pictures of hope, future
realities or laudable objectives? What will your group
identify themselves with after they achieve your vision?
Vivid visions educate, develop and encourage people. Visions
hold up the mirror of future possibilities and enable people
to see their potential clearly defined.
You can use your visionary projections to transform the
group into a newer, better, more confident team of leaders,
innovators and mentors. Thus, visions can help you add value
to and boost the resourcefulness of your people's best
An Element of Principled Activities
Without principles, your vision will fade away into
nothingness - is it possible that the Bible's Author means
the same thing?
Your vision must have a strong foundation to have any chance
at a future of success. Integrating the personal, cultural
and corporate values of your people into your vision
provides a bedrock for buy-in from all the actors.
Principles, shared beliefs, morals or ethics can also form
the underpinnings of a worthy vision. When you involve any
positive findings from our studies of philosophy, psychology
or theology you probably have the makings of a nurturing
An Element of Eternal Hope
The time is now but eternity is forever. Eternity is one big
eternal present - within it, there is no past, no future and
no in-between, there is only a now.
Your vision needs to be present at all times - to be sure
the vision may not yet be attained, but it when its goals
are achieved that visionary image will be present.
If the vision contains a crystallized hope, it will appear
to mirror the best parts of eternity - your vision will be
without any past regrets, without the fear of future doom
and it will contain one ever-present hope for better things.
An Element of Unlimited Dimensionality
Does your vision statement inspire our bodies, minds,
spirits and potentials? Have you spoken to and connected
with our physical, intellectual, spiritual or developmental
The vision that finds its way into a group's innermost core
has the best chance of realization. Your statement must help
your audience to see their opportunities to:
- Add tangible value to their world
- Pursue newer, more challenging ideas
- Be empowered to accomplish greater things
- Grow beyond the limitations of their current state
Use the power of dimension to lengthen, deepen, heighten and
broaden the character, capability, competence and potential
of your team - they'll be the better for it.
Your vivid vision statement should contain the promise of a
greater, more desirable world - if you include these 7
elements, you will see your envisioned ideas become a
glorious version of a new reality.
Thomas Jefferson included the line, "life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness" to describe his vision of an United
States of America in the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson's ideas certainly sparked the imaginations of many
people and his statements were eventually transformed into a
tangible reality. The best vision statements embody ideals
that are usually shared by all participants.
If you can find those ideals, if you use the 7 elements and
if you share your heart with your followers, you too will be
able to craft an enduring, yet inspirational vision.
Start writing a vision for your own personal growth and
future - then take action and put your ideals into practice
and help others to realize their dreams.
Don't let the people perish, give them a vivid vision to run
with and prosper by and the world will beat a path to your
Copyright ? 2004, Mustard Seed Investments, Inc., All rights reserved
About the Author:
Bill Thomas produces "The Leadership Toolkit" - a web
based training program that improves your leadership skills,
energizes creativity and transforms you into a persuasive,
empowering leader. Inspire Confidence, Be Creative, Enhance
Your Leadership Influence - Get "All the Tools You Need To