Where We Are Heading and Why It Matters
As the year enters its closing phase, we as leaders tend to wrap up with time-bound and data-driven reviews and reports. But it’s equally vital as we contemplate our leadership vision for 2024 to pause and not only reflect on this year’s work and recognize progress, but to challenge ourselves to step back and creatively adapt to what’s coming ahead. This is the difference between leadership and management. A leader needs to convey where we are heading and why it matters. When the destination and reason are established, then the preparation and provisioning can begin. Management compliments this journey with the details of how we get there.
A Clear Vision and Direction for Both Individuals and Organizations
In Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Covey uses a powerful analogy involving a jungle to emphasize the importance of having a clear vision and direction for both individuals and organizations. In the jungle analogy, he describes a group of people who are vigorously cutting their way through dense trees and brush with machetes. They are so focused on the task at hand that they don’t take the time to look up and see that they are actually in the wrong jungle. Despite their hard work and dedication, they are heading in the wrong direction, and their efforts are ultimately futile.
The lesson Covey imparts through this analogy is that effective leaders, whether in business or in life, need to take the time to ensure that the organization is “directionally correct” and has a clear destination in mind. This means not only working hard but also working smart. It’s not enough to be efficient at cutting through the jungle; you must ensure that you are in the right jungle to begin with.
Leadership, in this context, involves continually reaffirming that you are heading somewhere, and that “somewhere” matters. It means periodically stepping back from the daily grind to assess whether you are on the right path and whether your efforts are aligned with your ultimate goals. Leaders must climb higher, figuratively speaking, to gain a broader perspective and ensure that the business or organization is headed in the right direction.
How to Begin Your Leadership Vision
By “beginning with the end in mind,” leaders set a clear vision and purpose for their organization. They establish goals and objectives that serve as a compass, guiding every action and decision. This habit encourages leaders to regularly evaluate their progress, make necessary adjustments, and avoid getting lost in the daily routines that might lead them astray.
In essence, effective leadership involves more than just managing day-to-day tasks. It requires a commitment to strategic thinking, long-term planning, and a constant awareness of whether you’re in the right jungle, heading toward a meaningful destination.
How to Get Guidance on Leadership Vision
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