The book The Vision Driven Leader by Michael Hyatt focuses on unravelling the role of vision in leadership and outlines the steps you need to become and succeed as a vision driven leader.
Vision plays a key role in either channeling energy towards something great or its lack leading companies to irrelevance.
Vision drives everything and without one, you will get lost.
Many managers are much more confident in developing strategies rather than sitting down to work out a vision.
But Michael Hyatt maintains that this is where many leaders go wrong because vision, if done correctly, gives you the actual direction.
It is the big picture stuff, yes, and without it, many companies stumble and miss out on the opportunities that could enable them to succeed:
“A mission defines what a business is, a vision describes where it’s going. Mission is here; vision is still out there. Mission is now; vision is next” (p. 61).
Without vision, you will encounter at least five key challenges:
- Unprepared for the future. Without a vision, you will not see what could be. Example is Apple and computers: while some leaders said there is no reason why people would ever want to have a computer at home, Steve Jobs saw something others didn’t. He imagined beyond what was now and developed a vision for that reality that did not yet exist.
- You miss opportunities. Vision helps us to detect opportunities that can create future benefits: “Vision keeps us attuned to possibilities that align with the future we see. Without a vision, those opportunities slide by” (p. 43). If you have a clear direction, you can more easily see which steps can help you to get there.
- Your priorities remain scattered. Without a clear vision, everything is a priority, which means that nothing is. We all buy into the fallacy of abundance often: that we can grasp every opportunity and succeed in every task. But vision differentiates those opportunities that actually works for us from those that are actually not going to get us where we want to go.
- You take strategic missteps. Without a vision, we are bound to invest in things of low value and even fail. As Michael notes: “The future hasn’t happened yet. It’s imaginary. And it can take one of countless shapes, depending on decisions we make in the present” (p. 47). Knowing what is steering us is priceless.
- You waste money, time and talent. Without having a clear image of the future, you end up wasting a lot of resources into minuscule projects and activities that really don’t get you anywhere. Teams get highly frustrated when they are bound to work on tasks that don’t propel them forward.
Starting with the Vision Script
The most important step for a leader is to develop The Vision Script.
A proper Vision Script defines your reality in the future in one single document and is written in the present tense.
For a business, the Vision Script should contain at least four key areas:
- The future of your team.
- The future of your products.
- The future of your sales and marketing.
- The future of your impact.
But vision scripts are not easy to write and don’t fall out of the sky.
They need dedicated time where distractions are geared down and where the leader can develop his or her ideas.
Many of us are so entangled and engrossed in the daily grind and activities that even the thought of trying to take time to write such a script feels exhausting.
So on and on we march on, without realising that unless we have a clear vision of the future, we will do lots of good things but not the greatest ones.
Vision Script is our chance to pause, listen, and to articulate what an exciting idea looks like.
The script also outlines as to what we’d like to be and become in that process, who should be working on this with us, and what kind of people and energy we want to attract.
Writing a Vision Script is an exercise of imagination in how things look if they would go right.
It is about imagining the best future there is, outlining what you actually see, and taking dedicated time to put pen to paper as to what that actually looks like.
Writing in present tense is key as that helps us to bring the future into the now:
“By focusing on an inspiring what, people find their why. The problem with focusing first on how is that we stop believing in a superior tomorrow” (p. 107).
But why is to so hard?
For most of us, myself included, it is much easier to imagine a future where things have gone wrong.
When we are encountered with a new situation, we often go into risk management mode and start guessing as to which aspects can go wrong.
Sometimes we even step away from our dream and don’t actually give it a chance because we are so afraid of things going wrong.
It is much safer not to imagine something that could leave us heartbroken.
Human psychology and” the fight or flight” mode are evolutionary parts of our brains that keep us safe from dangers that lurk in the unknown.
But at the same time, if we are afraid of imagining the best superior tomorrow, we will miss out on the possibility of even getting there.
In these times, we need brave leadership more than ever and sometimes all a leader can do is to stop, reflect, and imagine.
And in doing so, inspire others to rise above the risks, dangers and limits that are set upon us by our experience.
Embracing a Vision Script is a daring thing to do but it is the only way that we can lift ourselves and others towards a better tomorrow.