Ancient Romans named the month of January for Janus, their god of gates, doors and beginnings. Always pictured with two faces – one looking toward the future, the other back at the past — Janus is a fitting symbol for the turning of a new year.
As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it’s natural to do as Janus does: look back and ahead in order to set new goals and plans for ourselves. It is predicted though that 2020’s quitter day will be Sunday 19th January; the day most people will give up on their new year’s resolutions.
Quitting happens because we do not create a compelling enough vision of a future reality we want to aim for. So, I’m inviting you this year to try something different. Instead of just reflecting on the past year or making ‘just’ New Year’s resolutions, why not consider using this first part of the year to look beyond the horizon and create that compelling, heart thumping vision for the next decade for yourself and those you want to take with you. Whether it is a vision for your business, your leadership, your life – you need to know what you really want to aim for, otherwise you just might end up somewhere else!
Well from a business perspective this should go without saying: Leaders are only leaders if they are leading somewhere. Unfortunately, there are many people in positions of leadership who want people to passionately and fully devote themselves to their business and yet they themselves have no clear sense of where they are going. Sometimes, what’s missing is the ability to inspire a shared vision. This is a core leadership capability in today’s world.
Kouzes & Posner, two academics turned business leaders, conducted extensive research in this area by asking followers: what matters most in your leaders?
The ability to inspire a shared vision was the number 1 attribute that most distinguishes leaders from non-leaders. And yet it continues to be the practise where leaders score least effectively, both according to themselves and their followers.
You can take the concept of leadership into your own life too and have a vision for an integrated, flourishing and well-balanced life. After all you are the leader of your own life! Having a shared compelling, heart thumping vision is how positive change occurs, people coming together united for a common cause and greater good. It generates energy, excitement and passion.
If communicated well, everyone has a sense of where things are going and their part in it, smart choices are being made with the end in mind.
So how to create your 2030 vision?
According to Gainpiero Petriglieri and his wife, INSEAD professors who have done extensive work in this area, they found two things to be present and essential for greatness in this area:
• Painting a vivid picture of a future day that is better than today
• Articulating a clear plan and show signs of progress no matter how small
Sounds simple, right? So how come it is not common practise? Well, two key mistakes: Some are getting on with it, but no one knows where they are headed but the number one reason for failure is, we are not dreaming of a future that is big enough, bold enough, audacious enough to excite and inspire.
The key is to take time to uncover, connect, communicate, execute and review your vision for business and life. Vision provides direction and helps your business prepare for the future. Vision provides guidance for decision-making, it shapes strategy. Vision guides the types of people you hire and promote. Vision defines what you will and what you will not do, in business and life. Vision helps set priorities and guides planning. Vision aligns people and activities. Vision provides purpose and a source of inspiration. Vision reflects a person’s or business’s core values and beliefs. Vision empowers people and helps focus their efforts. Vision brings change and hope for the future.
Let’s start 2020 a different way. It takes effort to distil big ideas and hopes into a simple picture of the future, but it’s worth the effort. Too often we say we’re too “busy”, but more likely to be busy in our business not on the business and other times that is simply an avoidance strategy. Every successful person is “busy” but they achieve exceptional results… why? Because they have a compelling, heart thumping vision.
As a leadership coach, one of my passions is to partner with clients through the process of creating a compelling Vision that propels them to greatness, running thriving businesses and flourishing lives.
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