Vision is a preferred future. A destination. Vision demands change, and change is not welcomed in most areas of life. For a vision to survive, it must be mature and healthy before being exposed to the cynical, critical, stubborn environment in which it is expected to survive. Maturity requires time. Vision is not something that could be done. It is something that must happen. “Where there is no vision the people get out of hand; happy are they who keep the law.” Proverbs 29:18 (NJB)
Vision requires people who have allowed their minds and hearts to wander outside the boundaries imposed by the world as it is.
People need to be reminded of vision every 28 days.
Vision is primarily nurtured by the stories we tell and the heroes we create in our organizations.
There is often an enormous disconnect between the vision of an organization and the events that make up the daily calendar pages of the organization’s leaders.
My observation has been that all effective leaders have a vision of what they must accomplish. That vision becomes the energy behind every effort and the force that pushes through all the problems. With vision, the leader is on a mission and a contagious spirit is felt among the crowd until others begin to rise alongside the leader.
How do I get a vision for my life … marriage … family … organization?
This question is crucial. Until it is answered, a person will be a leader in name only. While I can't give you a vision, I can share the process of receiving one for you and those around you.
1. Look WITHIN you:
What do you feel?
What burns inside you?
What keeps you up at night?
What do you feel passionately about?
2. Look BEHIND you:
What have you learned?
A person without experience sees a vision idealistically, and thinks that vision is enough by itself. A person with experience knows there is more to it; people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Visions thrive in an environment of unity. They die in an environment of division.
3. Look AHEAD:
What is the big picture?
This question often separates leaders from managers. Leaders are concerned with the organization's basic purpose – why it exists and what it should achieve. They aren't preoccupied with the “how to” or nuts-and-bolts aspects of the organization. Vision usually precedes just about everything necessary to bring it into the sphere of reality. President Kennedy was talking about putting a man on the moon before the technology ever existed.
4. Look ABOVE you:
What does God expect of you?
Is it a good idea or a God idea? Great leaders often sense a “higher calling” that lifts them above themselves. More often than not you will know what God has put in your heart before you know how He intends to bring it about. How is never a problem for God. A divine vision necessitates divine interaction. Remember you are a player, not the whole team. God is looking for dependence that actively waits upon Him to answer the question how?
Pursuing a divine vision is really an act of worship. It is a declaration of our confidence in God. It is a proclamation of how important we believe His agenda to be. Take a prayer walk in your area of ministry.
“I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.” Nehemiah 2:12-13 (NIV)
Investigate before you initiate!
5. Look BESIDE you:
What resources are available to you?
A vision must be greater than the person who has it. The experienced leader is always looking for others to make the dream come true. The leader continually passes on the vision to those who come around, knowing that dreams, if presented right, are contagious. Once a vision is developed, the next step is to communicate it. According to a survey reported by Leadership magazine, communicating a vision is one of the most frustrating areas of leading an organization. But leaders who effectively communicate vision to their followers achieve far more than those who don't. God generally raises up a point person to paint a compelling verbal picture. A picture that captures the hearts and imaginations of those whom God is calling to embrace the task at hand. Painting a verbal picture is the essence of vision-casting.
KEYS TO COMMUNICATING A VISION:
1.Come alongside the people you are leading and let them see your heart.
Cultivate trust; be transparent and patient. You must inspire the people!
2.Paint the picture for them.
Don't just give out information; help them “see” the vision with vivid descriptions, stories, and practical steps they can take to make it happen.
Components of the Picture you paint …
As long as your audience is blind to the needs at hand, they will have little interest in hearing you out.
Vision is often seen as a threat. Consequently, it is not uncommon for the negative emotions a vision stirs up in people to be unleashed in the form of criticism. When criticized, don’t allow anger or frustration to distract you from your God ordained vision.
c.The reason something must be done.
The key ingredient is your conviction that something must be done.
d.The reason something must be done now.
3. Put the things they love in the picture.
If what is important to people is part of the vision, they will buy into it. People are looking for something to give their lives to, something greater than themselves.
Vision is empowering to the leader who has it. The leader with vision believes not only that what he/she envisions can be done, but that it must be done. And, conviction is contagious, bringing other people along who together can make it happen.
THERE’S NO ‘I’ IN TEAM, BUT THERE IS IN VISION. TWO, ACTUALLY. AND USUALLY, THE ‘I’ IN VISION IS RESERVED AS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE POINT LEADER.
That’s why many organizations never reach their potential. Vision is somehow relegated to one person. This limits everything and everyone, because vision cannot be sustained through one person only. It must be embraced and carried forward by everyone on the team. Perhaps that’s why vision has not one ‘I’, but two – one for you and one for me.
If your vision is currently outpacing your resources – you may be on the right track.
Consider how the vision of your organization can stick to more and more people when it’s shared as a team responsibility. VISION, AFTER ALL, IS A TEAM SPORT.
1. Vision casters are vision carriers. Vision carriers are vision casters.
The long-range impact of vision casting depends on the number of vision carriers carrying the vision forward.
The four words that limit the vision of any organization are: It’s not my job.
How we answer this question determines how effective the vision of our organization is being understood: “Whose job is it to cast vision for the organization?”
Vision is a team sport.
We underestimate the enormous challenge of engaging the hands and hearts of people.
Do our staff members embody our vision?
2.The people in your organization are somewhere on this scale of vision buy in:
People buy in to the vision in order to benefit from it.
People buy in to the vision in order to contribute comfortably to it.
People buy in to the vision enough to give their lives to it.
3.What vision casting is NOT:
Vision casting is not a one-time event.
Vision casting is not disseminating information. “Don’t inform me. Inspire me.”
Vision casting is not about assuming the best about your communication.
All organizations struggle with communication. We don’t think people listen. The problem is we have assumed they care.
Vision casting is never urgent until it’s too late.
4.Vision casters and vision carriers are great storytellers.
Think of yourself as a movie producer and director.
Find a story.
Think of the sources of your stories.
Think of ways to share those stories.
Relive stories from the past.
Leverage the story in many venues.
Be a story provider for others on the team.
Social Media (all-stars)
Use offering as storytelling opportunities.
Be like “bees” that carry the vision all over the organization.
5.The vision question: “What did I do today to cast vision for our organization?”
Vision not repeated is just a one-time dream.
This pulls vision from the clouds and onto your calendar.
This question prevents the urgent from crowding out the important.
Vision is daily and consistent.
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be daily.
Casting vision ultimately depends on those who carry the vision. When a group of people carries the vision, they carry it further, faster, and deeper. BUT IT STARTS WITH YOU. AND IT STARTS TODAY.
Resources: “Visioneering” by Andy Stanley; Chapter 8: “The Indispensable Quality Of Leadership: Vision” by John Maxwell; "Vision Is A Team Sport" by Jeff Henderson
According to Tony Morgan, leaders are often told they’re trying to do too much—and it’s usually true. But if you succeed at empowering and developing other leaders, where does that leave you? What are the things only the lead pastor can and should do? Listen to the podcast below for more details ...