CEOs and founders often have their sights set on the future, envisioning possibilities for their organizations through visionary leadership, strategic planning, and effective goal setting. However, turning these dreams into reality requires more than innovative thinking; it demands a clear path forward. For you to become a Visionary, transforming your vision into reality becomes more likely by taking a few steps.
Three Simple Steps
Write it Down
There are many tools and frameworks that can help you capture your vision on paper. Or you can just jot it down. When you handwrite something, you use multiple parts of your brain. This “brain activation” increases your chances of achieving it.
Getting words on paper also helps Visionaries realize if their goals are too vague or it can help highlight holes and gaps in the vision. Writing it down provides the opportunity to reflect and think more deeply about a desired future state or outcome. You can then refine your vision and begin collaborating with your leadership team. This collaboration ideally creates buy-in and will allow the team to become crystal clear on where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. Once they’re all on the same page, it’s far more likely to happen.
Another way to increase the chances of transforming your vision into reality is to allow for peer pressure. Sharing your vision with others creates a sense of accountability to do what you say.
You don’t want to share all your hard work on your vision with just your leadership team. Eventually, you’ll want the entire company to see and understand your vision. You can do this by holding a State of the Company address where everyone hears the same message at the same time. These State of the Company sessions get everyone rowing in the same direction. You can also ensure your vision gets shared by having your leadership team members filter the message down through their departments.
This way, the entire organization holds you accountable for doing what you said you would. When you share your vision and how you plan to achieve it, your actions need to be consistent with the message you’ve sent.
An important part of transforming your vision is regularly reviewing it with your accountability partners. You can’t go through this exercise and share it just once, expecting things to happen.
You must meet consistently to keep everyone on the same page and on track. Even disciplined people fall off the path or get distracted.
From my standpoint, it’s ideal to review To-Dos and Rocks (90-day objectives) weekly. Additionally, leaders should hold each other accountable during quarterly meetings and as part of quarterly conversations with their direct reports.
The point is to keep the circles connected instead of smothering or becoming disconnected from one another. The right meeting cadence isn’t necessarily the same for everyone and may change as goals progress. Those interactions force you to keep moving the needle forward from positive peer pressure.
Simple, Not Easy
So many visions go unrealized because leaders don’t take these three steps to accomplish them. While the formula is simple, many people don’t do it or don’t do it all the way.
They don’t write down their vision. It just stays in their head, which also means it may not be clear either.
Or they’re afraid to share it. Because putting things out for others to ask questions or challenge creates a level of vulnerability that makes them uncomfortable. They realize that sharing it with others means they’re on the hook (which is the point!).
Or they share their vision but only share it once. In this case, they don’t have an accountability partner to help them stay on track, checking back with them on progress.
In conclusion, visionary leadership, strategic planning, and goal setting are essential for achieving your dreams and turning your vision into reality.
Remember, when you have a great vision, don’t just think it; ink it!