During the months of December 2012 – January 2013, we will be posting a blog series focused on helping leaders define their personal vision. If you plan annual goals, this series of exercises may serve as a helpful foundation. Each week you will see another post designed to guide you in identifying what is most important to you. First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. You will then consider what you want to do professionally, as well as the type and extent of the impact you want to have on the world. We will also provide examples from Demetrius and Jonathan, both emerging leader during this blog series. This blog series is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers and also part of our comprehensive leadership development program.
To help you develop your action plan, building on your vision from blog posts in December, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions, “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life. You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner. This week’s questions will focus entirely on What do we think/believe. In the coming weeks we will post questions from the two remaining categories.
- How does my personal vision fit within the larger context of my family, my community, my industry or my job?
- How do I create a shared belief that my vision will help the organization succeed within the larger community, and also help the community succeed?
- What do we believe we stand for as an organization? How should we behave to accomplish what we stand for (guiding principles/values)? Do my values align with the organizational values?
- How do I reconcile differences between my values and those of my organization? How will these differences impact my ability to develop toward my vision and goals?
Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see last weeks post for his vision statement). Check back next week for his answers to the two remaining categories.
- How does my personal vision fit within the larger context—my family, my community, my industry, my job? When I look at my industry, I begin to feel more and more confident that my personal vision is aligned with the visions of my industry. We have begun the transformation from managing people to leading people. The time has passed from command and control, to lead and learn. There is more power in thinking and working as a group, as opposed to any one person feeling as if he needs to have all the answers. This is the vision I have working for an organization and leading an organization into the future. My wife and I also share a vision as we move forward with our careers and our lives. The sharing of the vision is an important concept. Of course we are two different individuals with different goals, but the vision we share is in the support that we show each other. It’s really important to each of us that we are each other’s biggest supporter. Therefore, we make it a point to help each other to grow and to help each other to achieve individual personal goals.
- What do we believe we stand for as an organization? As an organization we stand for providing the best in value to our customer while maintaining integrity in the work that we produce. For me, there is a lot to be said about doing the “right thing.” As an organization of course we are concerned about the bottom line, but not at the expense of doing something that our customers would deem unethical or not in their best interests. This is a type of organization that I can stand behind and I believe that we are headed in the right direction. At this point, I believe my values are becoming more closely aligned with our organizational values and this is a positive sign.
Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you repsond to a few of these questions?
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com Ron Sombilon Art, Media and Photography