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What Leading With Vision Really Means

| April 2, 2013

by Jim Bruce

Erika Andersen is a leadership coach and founder of Proteus International, a consulting, coaching, and training firm focused on leader readiness. Her essay appeared in a Fast Company newsletter.

Andersen notes that people want leaders who look beyond today, who have and compellingly articulate a clear positive future state toward which they can focus their efforts.  In her view, individuals who focus on the current crisis, who seem to be more interested in the status quo or protecting themselves are not seen as leaders.  

Thus, in her view, the leader’s farsightedness based on a sense of what’s necessary, right, and good and the team is what’s needed.  This possible future will both respond to and resonate with people’s individual and collective sense of success.  Their response will be “I want to go there!”  Huge heroes for her are Henry Ford – a nation where every family would have an automobile – Steve Jobs – everyone would have a computer that would be accessible and easy-to-use as televisions and telephones.  

So, what does a farsighted leader do:

  1. See possible futures that are good for the enterprise.
  2. Articulate their vision in a compelling and inclusive way.
  3. Model their vision.
  4. See past obstacles.
  5. Invite others to participate in the vision.

Oh, you say, I’m not responsible for the enterprise where I work.  But, I say, you are a responsible leader and you can lead from where you are – whether you are leading yourself, your team, the multiple teams in your part of the organization, or…  So, it is time to step up.

. . . jim