Zen Leader Blog

Turning Your Vision Statement Into Reality

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Aug 1, 2012 5:14:00 PM

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.


Topics: zen leader, vision statement, mission statement, happiness, the zen leader, Ginny Whitelaw

How Role Playing Helps With Problem Solving

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Jul 19, 2012 8:52:00 AM

If my many years in marketing taught me anything, it was the importance of understanding your customers and prospects. Before any creative project was started, we would develop a "Creative Blueprint" that clearly stated our objectives and goals. The Main Selling Proposition was considered to be the most important part of the blueprint. But what I found to be most useful - not just then, but now in my own leadership work - is getting a grip on Current Attitudes and Desired Attitudes. Here's how you can apply this strategy to find solutions to many of the issues you face:

Think about a problem you'd like to address. For this example, let's use something very basic like: "I want Sarah and Tom to work better together." Grab a pencil. Now it's time to write in each voice what Current Attitudes and Desired Attitudes exist around this issue. The easiest way to do this is in first person. For example, in imagining Tom's voice, I might write:  "Sarah does most of the work herself so I never feel like an important part of the team."  A desired attitude from Tom might be "My contributions to the team are important and recognized." Really try and BE that other person - feel what they feel. This kind of role playing brings awareness to the needs and aspirations that are not being met and will give you a broader sense of how to develop a solution to satisfy all needs at hand.

This exercise can be applied to bigger issues as well, like growing a business. It is described in great detail in The Zen Leader, chapter 9, From Local Self to Whole Self. By "casting a wider net," we are able to see all the players surrounding the issue and the part they play in the desired outcome. Ginny Whitelaw lays it out quite beautifully:
- state your goal
- widen your net
- role play each person. Imagine what if…
- let imagination become reality

"The more I understand perspectives I never would have imagined on my own, the more realistic my imagination becomes," states Ginny Whitelaw. When we "engage with empathy," bigger possibilities emerge, or what she describes as tapping into our "whole self."

Give it a try!

Topics: role playing, the zen leader, Ginny Whitelaw, whole self

Welcome to the Zen Leader Blog

A blog that transforms:

This blog is dedicated to the concepts described in the book The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw.  In this blog we discuss how these concepts are applied to a variety of current situations and applications, helping us all unleash the Zen Leader within us!

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