Every company seems to have one - a Vision or Mission statement that defines the type of company they aspire to be. Many hours, and often considerable expense, go into the development of this written platform of hope. They are plastered on walls, given prominent positions in Employee Handbooks and used as rallying cries by management - but that's where it often stops. Turning that statement into reality is a much harder task. Lets look at some of the reasons they fail, along with a flip that may help you make it a reality.
The Power of Engagement
Any company can share a vision, but unless their people become truly engaged in the common purpose, it rarely becomes a reality. The best leaders begin by building a sense of ownership and responsibility in their people. Empowerment, sharing progress, listening and responding - these are all things that draw people in to serving under an inspired leader. I worked for one company who opened their books and discussed the situation and outlook to everyone each quarter. People knew exactly where the company stood financially, which made everyone rally together when times were tough. And when times were good, the desire to see greater possibilities unfold was an equal motivator. Engagement is key.
Pull not Push
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make in trying to realize their vision is to try and push their people toward it. "To drive results is to push the present toward the future. It always comes from behind, and relentless habit of it makes us feel like we're always behind," states Ginny Whitelaw in The Zen Leader. "To attract the future is to create the pull of working with larger forces."
So what does this mean "to attract the future" and how do we go about doing it? I'd like you think of a time when you had a moment of inspiration. Inspired thought is very different than regular thinking. It's what The Zen Leader calls "a Samadhi-inspired insight that we translate into thought." When we flip from driving results to attracting the future, we "flip into this connected state, which also flips our relationship with time." For those of you who would like to delve into this a little deeper, here's a very eye-opening little timeline exercise from The Zen Leader that will illustrate the cause and effect of your own past and future events.
"Attracting the future is not a heroic act, so much as unifying our intention with what's ready to happen and bringing it about with our actions," says Dr. Whitelaw.
Listen And Make Adjustments As Needed
"If your future vision is able to be realized, joy will accompany your progress, and a wave of enthusiasm will build." This natural state will pull others along with you. If it's unrealistic, you'll hit stuck points where there is no path forward, no learning and no joy. This is where adjustments need to be made, but done so from a connected state. Keep listening - "…your vision will auto-adjust… and will inform your rational mind what to do next."
So much of our potential for growth and happiness is wrapped up in our own connectedness with Now. Through this ability to sense the hearts of our people, the practicalities of cause and effect and the natural timing of situations, "we become the transforming agent," that is, expressing the Zen Leader in you.
Download the A New Perspective On Time activity from Chapter 7 of The Zen Leader.