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Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 5

May 2012


Blue Ridge Conference


“Anyone who exerts influence over others needs vision."

- Mark Miller

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October 10 - 12, 2012

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THE VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN

Vision is a Leadership Requirement

A few years ago, while attending BRCOL, I heard Mark Miller, VP of Training & Development for Chick-fil-A, Inc., speak on leadership. His comments about the requirement of a good leader to develop and communicate a clear vision have stayed with me since that time.

Mark said, “Anyone who exerts influence over others needs vision. People want certainty, but will accept clarity. Leaders must provide clarity. Leaders engage others to develop and share a vision.”

In addition to what Mark communicated, below are some of my favorite sayings related to vision and leadership picked up over the years. I am sure they belong to someone; I’m just not sure who! I am very happy to capture and use them regardless.

“Vision without action is a day-dream; action without vision is a nightmare”

“Begin with the end in mind”

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”

"The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan”

I believe one of the most important roles of a leader today is working with his/her team to set and effectively communicate a vision, whether to a small team, department, or an entire corporation. I also believe setting and communicating a vision or direction is one of the least practiced activities of many leaders. We often wonder why we don’t get the results we are looking for in our projects, whether it is an engineering project or a major organizational change or other project. Often, it is because the people who are working for us don’t fully understand what we want or where we’re going. We most likely have not made the vision of the desired outcome clear!

Kouzes & Posner, in A Leader’s Legacy, say that “being forward looking is a leadership prerequisite.” They also cite studies that say today’s leaders are very poor at being forward looking or creating a vision. In interviews with their clients and students they have identified the cause of today’s leaders being poor at articulating a vision because “people and organizations are hostage to the present. “ They go on to say that the demands of our business culture, the focus on quarterly profits and today’s crisis prevent leaders from spending enough time thinking beyond the next three months.

I usually keep at least one of the above sayings written on the white board in direct view from my desk. When things get really hectic or it seems like nothing is happening other than a crisis, I look up and review the saying and it helps me to realize I need to stop, look and listen. I must slow down, stop doing and take some time to listen to what’s going on around me and ask “what’s next or what do we need to be doing to prepare for the future?”

Mike Riley, Treasurer Blue Ridge Conference On Leadership

Quality Manager at Michelin NA

P.S. Mark Miller will be providing the Keynote: “Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life” at The Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership on October 11.

A few reminders:

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