Part II in a series
Effective leaders of change must be visionaries. A true visionary can see things not just as they are, but as they could be and should be, and they can compel others to see the vision too. A visionary can articulate the vision to others in such vivid detail that it appears feasible and reasonable to make it a reality. Whether a vision is homegrown or the result of outside forces and factors, it is the leader’s responsibility and imperative to construct a future reality that is realistic yet inspiring. Think of visionaries who were able to compel others with their ideas of what the future could be, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, or Coco Chanel.
The key to vision work is belief. Not only must the leader believe in what they are “selling” to others, but followers must believe it as well. For others to believe in the vision, they must have buy in. What about the vision impacts and benefits their way of being? How does the vision affect the world as they see it? Some leaders miss the mark by not considering the value, or lack thereof, that the vision as stated has for followers. Effective leaders are in tune with their followers, or they at least listen with empathy so they are informed as to how their vision relates to others. The belief in the vision by followers is integral to the success of change.
The first followers and early adopters are the best assets to the leader when driving change. These team members believe in the vision and in the leader to achieve the vision, so they become champions of change that can echo the vision and help drive change throughout the organization. These key team members can ultimately be more instrumental in the success of the change than the leader themselves. A leader must identify these key players in the organization and bring them on board, leverage their influence in the organization, and listen to them as they relay information back from other members of the organization. Here’s a classic video of the power of the first follower.
The vision must come with a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency can be in the form of a moral imperative, a response to a preordained timeline, or a desire to make an impact in the now as opposed to posterity. Most people respond to intense deadlines with stress and frustration, so urgency must be created positively. This can be achieved through excitement, incentives, and sharing of small quick wins. A leader who is present, excited, enthusiastic, confident, and speaks vividly and often about the vision can generate this sense of urgency that followers will buy into.
Do you need help developing and articulating your vision? Schedule a free introductory call today!