Goals can only be achieved by leaders who develop a concrete vision and can implement that vision to achieve success.
Many leaders have vision. What sets the best leaders apart is their ability to develop and advance that vision into action and results. A strategic, visionary leader is able to strike a balance between being a dreamer and an implementer, and know when and how much to focus on the short term vs. the long term.
Visionary leaders are inspirational. Change is hard, but they work to gain the support of others to drive the strategic vision forward. They keep organizations focused, make tough decisions, and execute strategy, always aiming for clearly defined outcomes of performance and success.
Leaders who develop and advance a clear strategic vision:
- See the big picture. Have a deep understanding of the organization’s current paradigm and know what it takes to change things. View the company from both a macro- and micro-level. Know what the organization needs to achieve now, and what it could achieve one, ten, or 20 years down the road.
- Inspire others. Transform an organization not by simply telling others what to do, but inspiring them to be part of a team that makes a difference. Be able to translate high-level strategy into specific goals and actions by cascading that strategy to every level, not just upper management. Shift employee attitudes from “I have to,” to “I want to.” Remove barriers and liberate employees to achieve the vision’s purpose. Create and communicate a compelling image of a future that others want to help build.
- Embrace change. Make change intentional. Don’t let things happen, make them happen. Don’t be afraid to tear down the current way of doing things and replace it with something new. Think ahead. Expect bumps in the road and, at the same time, keep the vision front-and-center. Be prepared to make tough decisions.
- Continuously evaluate success. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that should be reported and tracked. Keep the end-goal in mind. Think critically about whether actions and results are driving the vision forward. Look at every aspect of the business for improvement – people, processes and operations. Be ready to meet challenges and be flexible enough to alter execution tactics to support the strategic vision. Continue to raise the bar on expectations.
LFGSM Leaders on Strategic Vision
“When communicating a strategic vision, a leader needs to help employees understand what’s important, what the benefit is for them, and then help them through the change curve.”
- Sue Barber, formerly Kraft Foods, and LFGSM Business Leader Faculty®
“Advancing the strategic vision is about people. It’s about ensuring you’ve sold the vision, you have the right people on board, and you have clearly defined how employees can drive the vision forward. That’s what puts you on the road to success.”
- Max Reed, Former Senior VP of Program Management, CDW, and LFGSM Business Leader Faculty®