"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Saturday, November 7, 2009


It is impossible to agree on one definition of leadership, but all perspectives on the subject involve an element of vision.

A vision is a concept, expressed as a statement, about what you or your organization aspire to become. If it is for an organisation, the words should resonate with all its members so that they feel proud, excited, and inspired in being a part of something much bigger than themselves.

By stretching the organization’s capabilities, the vision gives shape, dimension, and direction for the organisation to transcend itself. Visions range in length from a couple of words to several pages.

Short vision statements work best: people remember their contents and act in alignment with the values, purpose, and mission embedded within them.

A leader (or group of leaders) must have a vision of the future, perhaps influenced by those of the past or of the present, and must succeed in communicating such a vision to followers.

The language of a Vision Statement might include narratives, metaphors, symbolism, cases of leading by example, and incentives.

In order to be effective, such a vision, should:

• be simple, yet vibrant

• act as a bridge between the current reality and a future desired state

• inspire, in order to energize followers

Leaders must not just see the vision themselves, they must be capable of getting others to see it too.

Today, vision statements are in danger of rapid decay brought on by the disease of cliches proliferating within the marketspace.

Copycat crafting of vision statements create comatose contingents of ‘followers’. The Third Millennium leader must not be embarrassed to show love, be a servant, and inspire a vision for the greater good of life of our planet.

Today’s leader has transitioned from being a strategist to a visionary, from commander to storyteller, and from systems architect to serving as an agent of transformation. Such an entity must be able to craft a vision statement that is imbued with an element of noble purpose and sublime values.

In 'Leadership and the New Science', Margaret Wheatley likens a vision to an intentional force field that permeates the organisation like a wave of energy.

Vision staments can range from just a few words to several paragraphs. Generally, in order to absorb the full power of a compelling vision, the words have to emerge from a deep understanding of the leader’s values, needs, expectations, hopes, and dreams.

The vision statement must start with the leader. Warren Bennis comments that “just as no great painting has ever been created by a committee, no great vision has ever emerged from the herd.”

Impelled by the energy within an impassioned force field, leaders must transcend themselves, from being strategists, to visionaries: traditional strategists define and confine, demand and command, predict and control; visionary leaders enthuse, excite, and entice; they embrace, ennoble, and elevate...through the symphony of their spirits.

Leaders who can communicate their visions are masters of the tools of rhetoric: they are able to cut through the cacophony of commerce and convey their messages via anecdotes, metaphors, and speech patterns that incorporate rhyme, rhythm, and reason, with balance and panache, to ignite emotions and catalyse passions.

On the next two pages, there are some examples of immortal Vision Statements; may they inspire you to become legendary leaders!

[To be continued in the Next Post. Excerpted from the 'Lifescaping' seminar participant's manual. The 'Lifescaping' seminar is conducted by Dilip Mukerjea about four times a year under the auspices of the Singapore Institute of Management.]

No comments: