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Leadership: Dream, Vision, Mission, and Goals

November 22nd, 2014

Successful leaders and organizations have dreams that are supported by their vision, mission, goals, and core values. Dreams can give birth to a leader’s vision and must never be too small!

Lita Bane has exclaimed:

“Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood and will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble and logical plan never dies, but long after we are gone will be a living thing (LEAD 620, n.d.).”

I like this quote because too often our plans are too small, if even made at all. Leaders must dare to dream large! At the same time, a dream is not to be some whimsical and illogical hope, but rather a well-intentioned and thought out plan that reaches far and wide. Powerful dreaming consists of mental awareness, logical thought, effective planning, and fearless courage.  

Once a leader dreams big, he or she must plan for action and follow through with the vision for legacy. Joel Barker has stated, “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference” (LEAD 620, n.d.). Without taking action on a dream, there is no vision, without vision an organization will not make a positive and lasting difference (Prov. 29:18, KJV).

The importance of the leader’s role cannot be overemphasized. While there is great value in teamwork, success of an organization can hinge on an effective leader. Effective leaders define the vision, clarify the vision, and inspire others to fulfill it (Robin, 2014).

Vision asks the ‘What’ question, specifically, “What do we want to become?” An effective vision defines the desired outcome of the organization and brings clarity to where the organization wants to go in the future (Robin, 2014). It is imperative that the leader write out a clear and succinct vision statement so that it may be well understood by those within the organization and by shareholders (Robin, 2014). Vision, along with the mission, is the perpetual driving force behind an organization and their daily decisions. It is noteworthy; the vision statement is the first step of strategic planning and therefore, precedes the mission statement (David, 2011).

A company’s mission answers the ‘Why’ question and reveals the purpose behind the work being accomplished. The mission will uncover an organization’s “purpose, motives, and intentions” (Robin, 2014, p. 2). A solid mission will unite and inspire an organization to feel like they are making a true impact. Employees working under a mission that they believe in will feel a greater sense of satisfaction in their work. I have been thankful to be part of thriving organizations that have had high morale and low turnover while promoting the mission in order to accomplish the vision. An organization’s mission also inspires people within and works outward as quality work reaches consumers (Robin, 2014). Importantly, strategic goals are developed in order to support and accomplish the mission of an organization.  

Core values, principles, and beliefs are also key ingredients, which make up the philosophical underpinnings of an organization. Values are reflected in words like teamwork or excellence; principles are operational guides; and beliefs are pre-suppositions and assumptions to what the organization determines as true (Robin, 2014). It is also important for leaders within successful organizations to clarify expectations, roles, and strategic goals for the company and for each position (Robin, 2014).    

In closing, leaders play a critical role in steering an organization to success by taking action on their dreams while carrying out a clear vision. Concise and clarified vision and mission statements are needed for organizational buy-in and optimum success. By setting clear vision, mission, goals, values, principles, beliefs, and expectations, leaders can understand where the organization is going, have a laser-focus to get there, and ultimately, help the organization arrive at their destination.

References:

David, F. R. (2011). Strategic management: Concepts and cases. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Robin, D. (2014). Vision, mission and values. Retrieved from http://www.abetterworkplace.com/developing-the-organization-and-the-people-in-it/

LEAD 620. (n.d.). Lecture notes: Vision quotes. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University. Retrieved from http://learn.liberty.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_57401_1%26url%3D#global-nav-flyout

Author:

Cameron Ashworth, M.S.

Director of Operations, Genesis Counseling Center


Successful New Year’s Resolutions Start on the Inside

January 1st, 2014

InsideOut-LogoImage from: http://life2getherblog.com

As we celebrate a new year how do you make this the best yet?  Many of us use New Year’s as a time to make resolutions that often focus on good habits we want to start or bad habits we want to stop.  Gyms and weight loss programs see a huge surge in business as we start the year with determination to make it count this time.  I don’t know about you but the road of great intentions regarding many of my previous resolutions often became too steep.  After a month or two I often find myself back on the same well traveled road from the past.

Forming new, healthy habits is similar to launching a rocket into space.  The pull of gravity is greatest at the beginning of the journey where the most fuel is required.  As the rocket moves through the atmosphere and into space the effect of gravity becomes less and less and the energy it takes to continue drops dramatically.  How do we find the energy to get off the launchpad and to stay on the steep path of change until it becomes “the path”?

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”  As this maxim states, the key to a new destiny starts with our thoughts.  Our habits are the “fruit” of how we think about ourselves and the world around us.  The path of increased effectiveness requires that we not only consider what we do but also how we view life.  Stephen Covey in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” challenges us to take an “Inside-Out” rather than an outside-in approach to increasing our effectiveness in life.  This process requires us to start our journey by focusing on our paradigms, our character and motives.

So instead of focusing our new year’s resolutions on outside actions or habits we want to build, the key to success is starting on the inside.  Choosing to live inside-out requires us to live counter to our culture and to tap into universal laws.  By challenging our thoughts about circumstances, other people and even ourselves we open our minds to new perspectives that can set us free from habits and help us start new ones.  As Daniel Goleman explains regarding emotional intelligence, it all starts with self-awareness.  Building self-awareness takes personal humility and openness to honest feedback.  It’s no wonder that most people struggle to make New Year’s resolutions stick!  It’s hard work and there is not quick formula for meaningful change but the results are worth it.

I hope you will join me in taking a new approach to your resolutions in 2014.  Concerned about sticking with it?  Consider having a coach join you in the journey to help you maintain momentum with the path gets steep.  At Genesis Assist we offer both business and leadership coaching that can make the difference between success and failure.  Let’s make this the best year ever by investing in our own personal foundation.  Our families, co-workers and clients will all reap the benefits.


The Speed of Trust … But Who Do You Trust In?

November 2nd, 2013

Who do we trust in especially when life is not the way we want it to be?

I was challenged by this question this morning and I hope these thoughts are encouraging to you.  Solomon tells us the following (with my comments included) – trust in the Lord with all of your heart (fully, completely, without holding back) and do not lean on your own understanding (don’t put weight on or depend upon your own point of view even when you think you have things figured out).  In all your ways acknowledge Him (run everything by Him to see if your decisions and actions are consistent with His plan for you) and He will make your path straight (versus wasting your time, money, life on things that don’t matter).

Jeremiah goes further to explain the end game – WIFM (what’s in it for me).  Cursed is the person who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He is like a shrub in the desert and shall not see any good come. … Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord. … He is like a tree planted by water … and does not fear when the heat comes for its leaves remain green … it does not cease to bear fruit.

It’s “easy” to trust God when things work the way we want them to but how do we respond “when the heat comes”?  I have to be honest that I put too much weight on my own point of view way too often.  There is a lot to learn in zooming out from our circumstances to see things from a bigger picture and challenging our paradigms.  Praying that you will join me in the journey to trust God more and myself less.


The Entrepreneurial Potential of the Therapist

October 28th, 2013

Therapists possess an incredible potential for applying their unique skill sets and creativity to establish and run counseling practices.  Yet the mindset of the therapist is typically insufficient for business success.  Walfish and Barnett (2010) assert that “being a caring professional and earning a living are not mutually exclusive” but this requires “resolving the conflict between altruism and being a business owner.”  Further, they note that many therapists “have an elitist attitude about being a professional in which the primary objective is helping others and not making money.”  This can be compounded for the Christian clinician who values selflessness and sacrifice.  I discovered valuable resolve for this dilemma when I sought advice from a trusted Christian business consultant.  He poignantly told me, “Your vision for touching and inspiring the hurting with Christian counseling will fail if you do not think like a business owner.”


Is my counseling practice a ministry or a business?

October 19th, 2013

Therapists do not go to graduate school to become business people.  In fact, the concept of business may bring with it negative connotations.  As therapists, we typically value compassion and serving which can be viewed in opposition to business success and financial gain.  The Christian therapist who chooses to become a practice owner, however, must embrace the importance of being both a minister and a business owner.  Often, this involves facing a steep learning curve, which begins most critically with mindset.  The therapist’s altruistic vision to provide care to others will not be realized without a successful business model.  As Christian counselors, we must strive for excellence in both counseling and business to effectively and sustainably serve those who God has entrusted to us.


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