In my neighborhood, Hyde Park, Chicago, sits an impressive example of architecture, the Robie House. Designed by famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Robie House set the standard for the Prairie style home. Wright’s ideas influenced American architecture for decades to come. From the ranch-style homes that spread across the American landscape to today’s suburban great rooms, millions of American homes can trace their ancestry back to Wright’s Prairie homes, of which Robie House is a notable example. This is a notable example of leading change. Wright had a vision of family space in a home and it played out in his designs.
In 1957, Wright said, “The common man is the average man, and the average man lacks vision. It is only when he has vision that he immediately becomes uncommon.” Your success as a leader is partially rooted in your ability to have, express, and execute a vision that drives significant positive change for your business.
A vision is more than a statement that you dream up when sitting with your leaders, or alone in the evening with a cocktail. A vision must have a few important characteristics:
1. It must be forward looking. It broadly describes how the business will look in a few years.
2. It must be realistic. It needs to be achievable, and it needs to be set in the context of the current macroenvironment. I submit, for example, that many of Sears’ issues are related to not having a realistic vision for its future.
3. It clearly provides direction. Your leaders and employees alike must be able to understand the vision in terms that help them make appropriate decisions and act independently. It gives them a shared sense of what is important.
4. It is inspirational. It’s one thing to capture people’s minds, but you must capture their hearts also. Employees will be connected emotionally to the vision and will help the commit to the cause.
Whether you are leading a large organization or a minor change, your vision of success will help you achieve just that… success. Your success might be uncommon, as Wright suggests, but you will clearly prove your leadership.
Dedicated to your profitable transformation,