In essence, a vision is a picture. Its a possibility of how something can be.
I always find it funny that all too often this vision is then put into words. This is great for goal setting and planning, and thats essential. But in the translation of a written “Vision Statement”... don't you find that some of the “juice” of that initial impulse gets a little lost? Have you got one? Its probably in a drawer somewhere... you probably did it as at workshop or a retreat a year or so ago.
How often do you look at it? Does it still give you the same energy as when you received it?
Ill be sharing a way, later on to revitalise some of the energy in reconnecting with the idea that arose from this initial creative impulse.
In the past Leaders have been they have been the ones with “The Vision” that others will follow, no matter what. We've all heard the old maxims “A leader is as big as his vision”. True enough, but this is a tiring reality. You have to continue to “share the vision” “encourage” “keep fighting on until the vision becomes a reality”. You have to lead people from the inner world of the idea, to the external world of systemic change right through to getting the paperwork right.
You can imagine the headaches Moses went through! Its exciting enough to receive the vision in a blazing thunder-struck moment of brainstorming, but then the top down implementation of this vision is very “old school” to say the least. It may have worked at the base of Mt Sinai four thousand years ago, but does it work for you now?
Receiving the vision is a huge responsibility. But its implementation is considerably stressful. Do you ever feel a deep sense of relief when you let go of the vision you have been holding onto? Have you ever wondered why?
Do you see anywhere else in nature where this “top down” approach to Leadership is effective? Ever see an ant, a bee, a dolphin, leading from the front? Holding the map? I realise that we are a little more complex than bees and dolphins, but lets face it, we are the only species that can actually despise who and what they are. You never find a dolphin with its head in its fins saying “I wish I were a porpoise?” With the self awareness (that we can only assume dolphins and bees dont have), we can chose a number of different things. We can choose to set a goal for ourselves. We can choose to like or despise other people... and we can choose to love or despise ourselves.
Right now we have some big choices to make, because so many of the current leadership models that we use are based on the newtonian and cartesian worldview that everything is tangible and measurable, and a system and a process. Processes and systems are important carriers of knowledge, information and exchange... but, if the light goes out in our hearts... then what are we exchanging with one another?
Valueless, meaningless nonsense, in exchange for valueless, meaningless nonsenses.
How soul destroying.
Its no wonder the world seems on the verge of systemic collapse.
Now you could say that geese and dolphins have it easy. They have a simple existence. We are a complex species, and we need complex solutions. This is true. But when we connect with some of the simper truths at the core of our beings... then we can navigate this complexity with a whole new level of awareness. Maybe its a “simplexity”.
You may have come across the “Wisdom Of Flying Geese”:
By flying in "V " formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
Basic Truth #1- People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
Basic Truth #2- If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as we are.
When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
The intrinsic nature of a held formation is effortless, particularly when everyone is heading in the same direction. Each person plays their part in holding the form of the whole. Its not so say that this is perfect, and that there are no problems. Every goose in this formation has a vested interested in holding the form of the whole. If one drops out, the whole fails to get to its destination. Each goose is a leader in this sense. There is an unsaid agreement... almost a covenant “we are getting from a to b.. our survival depends on it”. And out of this comes a genuine collaboration, communication and clarity around a clear aim.
The distinction between dolphins, geese and people is of course, self awareness (in my book, any species that surfs, plays and stays in the sea is very self aware, but enough of that for the moment.) With self awareness comes choice. And with choice comes the option to change. And with change comes the option to try and change yourself (because you hate what you do) and the others around you (because you hate what they do). And therein lies the greatest opportunity for our potential as a species. Despite where we have come from, and the hand we feel we may have been dealt, we can choose to orient ourselves to where we want to be, whilst being aware of where we have come from.
The control of external behaviours, in the name of culture change is partially effective, and in some societies, an absolute imperative, mainly when the society is on the verge of destruction. Coercion is needed to stop people from destroying themselves. A step up is rewarding good behaviour to motivate others. Many have found to their organisational loss just how quickly intrinsic motivation is sputtered out by external reward schemes.
But when you truly engage the heart centre of those around you, with a deep connection of the truths that we already all now to be true... and you align a common vision around that... Then a “Vision shared is a vision multiplied.”
In fact, in the new economy that is emerging, Leadership is all about harnessing the power of collective vision. If your people are causing drag, and breaking formation... then they just don't have a vested interest in where you want to go as a whole. Either they don't understand the “vision”, they don't believe in the vision, or most likely, they just don't feel the vision. It doesn't connect... and therefore it doesn't engage.
What if we were to shift completely away from these idea of an external image, received by one and then transmitted to others... to connecting with the creative impulse inside all of us.... connecting with the inner image ... the inner vision of you will that already exists inside you and your team.
So, if you want to multiply your collective productivity and harness the power of collective creative impulse, here is a simple inquiry for you and your team:
- Does your “vision” make you feel alive? Does it fully engage you heart body and soul? Are you willing to commit to it wholeheartedly for the next five years of your life? Is your life worth it? If not... why not? (Tip: Be honest!)
- Does your vision make your team feel alive? If not?... why not (Tip: allow them to be honest!)
- What are the life principles that you and your team agree on? Compassion? Integrity? High Performance? Happiness? Trust? Success?
- Explore what each of these life principles looks like, feels like, sounds like for each one your team. Find individual times when you have experienced these principles in action. Ask them to think about it, write it down, then share it collectively.
- Pool this together, and re-craft your collective vision.
I trust that this provides fuel for collective inspiration for you and your team!