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.
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
Cameron Ashworth, M.S.
Director of Operations, Genesis Counseling Center