Brand positions, mission statements, and purpose statements all have their place, but bestselling CEO Michael Hyatt says that when it comes to leadership, vision is key. So much so that he's willing to call vision the essential ingredient for successful leadership.
Hyatt currently serves as the founder and CEO of leadership-development firm Michael Hyatt & Company, which has grown 60 percent year over year for the past four years. I recently had the chance to catch up with him on the Love in Action podcast to talk all things vision, and about his new book The Vision Driven Leader.
Hyatt defines vision as an inspiring, clear, practical, and attractive picture of your organization's future, three to five years down the road. As a leader or founder, without vision, you're not leading -- you're managing. To lead without vision is to vote to maintain the status quo.
So why do you need a strong vision? Here's what Hyatt had to say.
Vision gives you confidence.
If you're leading a team, you're on a journey, leading them somewhere. If you don't know where you're going, it shows up as hesitancy or self-doubt. Vision allows you to know where you're going, and gives you the confidence to get your team there.
Vision accelerates your momentum.
It's a whole lot easier and faster to build something when you've taken time to define the win, and painted the picture of what the finished product will look like.
A clear vision differentiates between opportunities and distractions.
The more successful you become, the more important this becomes, because success attracts opportunities. But a lot of what comes will be distraction masquerading as opportunities, and vision will help you to know the difference.
Vision drives execution and reduces overwhelm.
We all have more to do than we possibly can, but some of those tasks contribute to vision and others are busywork. A clear vision helps align your organization and ensures that you're driving towards the things that bring success.
A clear vision helps you attract the right teammates and repel the wrong ones.
People are drawn to a clear vision, and while everyone may not agree with your vision, when you have the right ones on board, it will make all the difference.
In The Vision Driven Leader, Hyatt walks readers through the process of crafting a clear and compelling vision -- what he calls a Vision Script. His team over at Michael Hyatt & Co. has put together a myriad of resources for leaders, but one that will walk you through the entire vision casting process is available on his website, called The Vision Scripter.
So how do you develop a strong vision? The Vision Script leads leaders through the vision-crafting process by answering the following questions:
- What do you want? If you can jump ahead three to five years, where do you want to be? Think in terms of your team, your products, your sales and marketing, and your impact.
- Is it clear? Do you have a good grip on the direction you're headed, and it is explicit and concrete enough for your team to follow?
- Does it inspire? For a vision to be effective, it must be powerful enough to shake off complacency and replace it with the motivation to take action. Will your vision inspire your team?
- Is it practical? This is where you'll get into more of the nitty gritty, crafting strategy, setting goals, breaking those goals into meaningful next steps, and hiring for your vision.
- Can you sell it? You'll need to be sure that you can get others on board--from your direct team to your boss or your board, the company more broadly, and those outside the company, if necessary.
As Hyatt writes in his book, "A vision is not a guarantee. Plenty of visions fail. But having no vision is a guarantee of failure."