by: Jeff Earlywine
One of my greatest loves as a kid was fishing. This love developed quickly because my family owned a little bait shop that was located near Toledo Bend Lake in Louisiana. Toledo Bend is well known for its large bass and large quantity of crappies.
I soon found out that there is a lot more to fishing than just catching fish. Learning to cast a fishing lure into a tree-covered fish hole takes great skill. But casting is just the start; you have to learn to make the lure look irresistible to the fish below, so irresistible that an attack is inevitable.
Casting a vision for your organization works much the same way. Over the years I have written many Footprints and Monuments articles on the topic of vision. I have written about the value of a vision, how to evaluate your vision, how to design your vision, and how to write a vision statement. This article however is to help you discover the practical process of casting a vision.
The process of casting a vision for your organization is to:
- Prepare your mind
- Present an engaging question
- Problem (challenge) identification
- Proceed to a solution
The first step in the process of casting a vision begins with you, the leader. The vision of your organization begins in the crock-pot of your mind and heart. It is something that you can feel, taste, see, hear and can literally touch with your soul. Your vision must be greater than your past memories, mistakes, and accomplishments. It has been said that dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision. Warren Bennis was quoted saying, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
As much as we would like to skip this step we must resist. The best way for your vision to become clear in your mind and heart is to retreat to a quiet and tranquil place. A place that will allow your mind to think creatively and crystallize the vision.
The next step in the process is to engage your leadership team with a thought provoking question. A question that will help them begin to see the vision and dream that lives in your heart. Questions like…
- What is one thing that our staff needs to do their job better?
- What actions need to be taken in order to increase our sales and/or income?
- What changes need to be made in order to guarantee we accomplish our objectives?
Step three is a transition step. In this step your leadership team will discuss in detail the challenges keeping those questions from being answered and acted upon. Challenges such as, why sales are not reaching predetermined goals, why customers are not returning, or why families are suffering just as much within the church walls as they are outside the church. Overcoming these challenges will put the organization on the pathway to accomplishing its objectives and your vision.
The last step in this process is to determine the solution to the above challenges. This is the step in the process where you share your heart’s vision and get the buy-in from your leadership team. Everyone must be convinced that the solution will help your organization accomplish its (your) vision. It is very important at this point to remember K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short & Simple.
The following is an example of how these steps work together to reach the vision of an organization.
The organization in this case is one that mentors at-risk kids in a large metro city.
- Preparation of the mind: The vision that lives in the heart of the leader is to reach each one of these at-risk kids with the life changing message of Jesus Christ and to help them change their lifestyle and learn to reach their potential.
- Present an engaging question: Leadership team, community leaders, and business men/women what would your life have been like if you would have had a mentor to help you through life’s challenges during your high school years?
- Problem (challenge) identification: The problem identified is the treadmill to destruction that these at-risk kids live on. This treadmill keeps them in juvenile courts and detention centers. It also encourages them to live their lives in the gang and punk-rock scenes.
- Proceed to a solution: The solution is to rally the Christian community in such a way that men and women will hunger to become trained mentors and get involved long-term to make a difference in the lives of these at-risk kids.