So, you’ve just succeeded in being hired to lead a newly consolidated organization. Congratulations! You should celebrate your good luck – very briefly. The odds are that you are expected to create wonders in a very short time and you need to start making progress immediately. And it is highly likely that someone would like to limit your success. How will you deal with that?
Who you hire says volumes about how effectively you use your leadership skills. Unfortunately, what I’ve seen in many companies suggests that hiring the right people is not viewed as important. Far too often, the leader’s primary focus is on controlling cost. There seems to be little recognition that hiring the right employees can maximize bottom-line benefits and build a solid platform for future profitable growth. One way to maximize your probability of success in hiring new employees is to hired based upon your vision and mission.
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
–Yogi Berra, Major League Baseball Manager
I can’t imagine a clearer statement of what has brought us into this deep recession. We want to believe that the experts are telling us something in which we can trust, yet as leaders, we need to be very cautious. We have recently seen a confluence of expert knowledge failures.
Leaders must be careful in picking which experts to listen to, especially when the experts make claims based on theories. In this last year, we’ve seen many failures result from blindly following the best theories experts could provide. We live in a world of practice, not theory:
One good way to open ourselves up to creating a powerful vision for a commodity is to look past the commodity itself and focus on what customers hope to gain from its purchase. Two examples come quickly to mind when thinking about chicken eggs: Egg Beaters and organic eggs.
Your leadership depends upon you attracting followers and that requires that you have a vision of a better future. You make that vision seem attainable to your followers through the messages you deliver, including your mission. Recently, we looked at vision and mission in Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and in the context of evangelical religions and the US manned space flight program. How about for your company or organization? Can you identify a moving vision and mission for it?
I have already presented my opinion that the real for-profit corporate mission is to “create wealth for the owners”, but let’s look at an example of how an operationally oriented “every day vision” can provide more purpose to the activities of the corporation.
Does your leadership depend upon you forecasting the future, predicting what will happen? How much better at forecasting have you proved to be than, say, the average gecko? You might be surprised at the answer.
One of your most important leadership skills is making sense of the world, both inside and outside your organization. You have to create a vision of a better future, else why would anyone follow your lead? If you make durable products, then why would anyone buy yours rather than your competitors’ products, if yours doesn’t lead to a better future than the competitors’ products? And why would anyone work for you, if you can’t provide a better future than other employers? Your vision and the messages you deliver to your followers and custsomers are very important to your success.
But how good are you at forecasting?
Humility has been identified as a virtue by many cultures for thousands of years. Yet does it have a place in leadership? Humility, the quality or state of being humble, has some connotations that cause many people to believe it would be tough to be humble and be a leader. Could it be that humility was once valued in a leader, but should be shunned today? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, wrote:
How virtues change! Moses, the greatest Jewish hero, is described as “a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth.”
By today’s standards he was wrongly advised. He should have hired an agent, sharpened up his image, let slip some calculated indiscretions about his conversations with G-d and sold his story to the press for six figures.
Or could the answer depend upon our values and how we define humble? Humble is typically defined by a quality or status of being low or inferior - or by what it is not (“not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive”) and examining these attributes can give us an answer.
I received this via email today:
Figuring out the right mission and vision statements has been a learning exercise for me.
Just when I thought that we had got them right I came across this article at http://ezinearticles.com/?Writing-a-Mission-and-Vision-Statement&id=24990
which states that it is the vision statement that has to flow out of the mission statement and not the other way round.
Does it mean that our vision and mission statements have to be interchanged?
We are at a critical stage and your inputs will be crucial.
Looking forward to your response,
How do you plan to reach your important goals? What do you do to create a path from where you are to where you want to be? As a leader, how do you organize that path in such a way that your followers can believe in you and stay interested in taking that journey with you? Creating a path to the future state you desire is a key leadership skill. It requires setting a course to get from one intermediate point to another.
Essentially, you create a set of directions similar to what you get from Mapquest, Google maps or your GPS system. Each segment is based upon a set of assumptions. Most importantly, the assumptions include that the road is safe and open and that it will a fairly predictable length of time to travel. Your leadership plans should be based on similar assumptions about safety, accessibility, time to complete and a measure of how the segments move you closer to your goals. Read More→