Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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July 2003
The Importance of Having a Vision

Last month's Newsletter looked at the importance of determining your corporate values.  I hope you found the Values Statement in the Newsletter helpful to you in determining the CORE VALUES of your organization.  This is the first, critical step in formulating a vision that your team will buy into and work towards, as your vision should reflect the values your organization holds dear. We live and work in very unsettling times, and it is important for leaders and staff alike to have a vision for the following reasons:

Having a vision helps us prioritize our days at work.

We all have such full plates today that it is difficult to know what to do first.  However, when you have a vision of what you want to achieve, and you can "taste" what it would be like to achieve it, you gravitate to those activities and projects that will lead you closer to your vision. You get that "quirk" in your heart when you have done something that directly relates to what you are trying to accomplish. You also get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are working on something that you know will not lead you where you need to go. The vision you hold becomes the compass that keeps you on track. Many business leaders have told me that a worthy goal or vision is the "fire in the belly" that keeps them going. The most successful visionaries have the ability to look into the future and see the possibilities, and at the same time, maintain a focus on what needs to be done in the present.

Having a vision helps us become failure-resistant.

From the moment I decided to become a professional speaker, I could not walk into a room without visualizing myself in front of an audience speaking and having an impact on the lives of the people in my audience.  It could be any room ... in a hotel, in an office building, in any type of auditorium ... there I was, speaking to the crowd.  I had no idea at the time what I would say or who my audience would be, but I was there on that stage speaking my heart out! This is now my 21st year of speaking professionally and I have held on to that vision through good years and difficult ones in my career.  I may make mistakes and I may not always live up to my high expectations of myself, but I am not a failure. I cannot allow a vision of failure and a vision of myself in my life at the same time.  As long as I stay true to my vision and work towards it, I will be failure-resistant.  A strong, clear, values-driven vision will do the same for you and your organization as well. You and your team will view barriers as challenges rather than obstacles as you navigate your way towards your vision.

Having a vision gives us a common bond and purpose to strive for.

One of the most important facets of a vision is the power it has to unify people to strive towards a common goal.  When a corporate vision becomes more important than an individual's personal agenda, you rise above the "turf" issues and power struggles that can happen at work. Especially during times of organizational change, it is crucial that everyone has a shared vision of what the company seeks to accomplish, and what his/her part is in it.

Having a vision gives purpose and meaning to life.

A vision is the structure that gives life its meaning and purpose.  A vision gives us a reason to stretch ourselves, get out of our comfort zones, and try something new. For many people a vision represents the vehicle to move us forward when we are in either of the following situations:

(1)  our present situation is so intolerable that we will risk the fear of the unknown to leave the situation and move towards a vision we hold of something better; or

(2)  there is something we want to be, do, or have so badly we will do what it takes to make the necessary changes to achieve our vision.  We learn to look at change as a friend, not as an enemy.  A vision allows us a view of what we can aspire to if we are willing to do the work to make it happen.

As the visionary leader, you have the ability to aim high and formulate a vision that will give your employees a glimpse of who they can be and what they can accomplish when they work in the spirit of shared values and shared goals.

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have."

Margaret Mead

Many "potential visionaries" tell me they have challenges in getting their employees to buy into a corporate vision.  It has been my experience that employees don't buy into a vision when they feel their work would have little impact on the vision. "Why bother, anyway?" They do not feel accountable for the vision and this must change. In next month's Newsletter I will give you a very specific strategy you can implement immediately to get buy in from your employees and make them accountable for the vision. If you have any comments on this Newsletter or an experience you would like to share, I would love to hear from you.  Have a wonderful month.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care.  Her programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for staying on top of their professions in today's constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for conferences and conventions, management retreats and in-house seminars.  If you wish to explore the possibility of having Barbara work with your leadership team or speak at your next event, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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