Today’s business and institutional environments are characterized by rapidly evolving challenges on multiple fronts that require leaders to be able to respond correctly in a variety of areas.
Truly great leaders, however, do more than simply engage in crisis management. Instead, every decision they make is in service to a broader picture – a vision – towards which they guide their organization.
A clearly articulated vision of the future is crucial in providing a framework that allows a leader to be able to execute upon their other responsibilities:
- A compelling vision keeps an organization focused on the future.
- A vision creates a compass that allows an organization to see various routes – not just one – to get there.
- A vision ideally needs both structure and flexibility. Leaders should be prepared to make modifications as conditions demand.
- A vision serves as a useful analytical tool, allowing an organization to compare where it is currently with where it wishes to go.
- A vision can provide permission to engage in creativity and experimentation, as members of an organization consider various ways to meet their goals.
In addition to its practical benefits, a vision also provides motivational energy to other members of the organization. During chaotic times, leaders play a vital role in maintaining institutional focus and projecting a calm, confident demeanor. This combination is key to supporting the mental and emotional well-being of the organization’s employees. It sends a powerful message to which allows them to remain loyal, steadfast, and productive.
Powerful, compelling visions challenge our current ways of thinking, being, and doing. They challenge us to grow and change. They ask us to step out of our comfort zones and habitual ways of doing things.
In turbulent, uncertain times, it is perhaps natural to feel a compulsion to “keep one’s head down” and focus on immediate challenges. A compelling organizational vision can act as a catalyst to resist this impulse. Leaders who are able to act with purpose during disruptions of the status quo will be best positioned to capitalize on the opportunities that come with major realignments in the institutional environment. Their employees will be better psychologically suited to weather the chaos. They will have a map for navigating through the turbulence that can cause poorly led organization to flounder.