A Leader Must Have a Compelling Vision
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

The difference between being a leader and a manager is vision.  To truly be a leader you must be able to articulate a compelling vision of where the organization is going and a way to get there.  Leaders are at their best when they are communicating and demonstrating a compelling vision.

I am not saying that there is not a need for good managers.  Managers are necessary to ensure organizations accomplish stated goals.  Managers are important to the execution of a vision.  Supervisors and managers are critical – especially in larger organizations –  in situations where employees may not have much interaction with senior leaders.  Managers will always be important in both conveying the vision and ensuring it is acted upon.

However, without a vision the organization and its employees will lack the critical ”why” and “what” so important to successful efforts.  With a compelling mission that lays out what needs to be accomplished an organization can be successful in the most challenging of situations. Also, the vision needs to be challenged and updated to remain relevant and compelling.

Time and time again I see long standing organizations thrive when leaders refresh a compelling legacy vision and passionately communicate it to its internal leaders, managers, and employees.  This is a never-ending effort that is necessary for day-to-day and longterm vitality.

Just look at such companies as Stickley, Corning, The Raymond Corporation, and Crucible to name but a few.  Each of these organizations have needed to refresh and update its vision to be successful over decades of opportunity and challenge.  This took leadership and grit.  We are better as a community because their leaders where able to put forth a compelling vision.

So, what is your vision as a leader?  Is it compelling for your team and within your organization?  Is your vision getting buy-in from the team and driving results that will sustain your efforts?  It is never too late to refresh or create and communicate your vision for success.  It’s what leaders do when they are at their best.