In addition to knowing your purpose, it’s valuable to explore your personal leadership vision. A vision is a compelling image of an achievable future. It provides a sense of direction, focuses your actions, and inspires you and others to move toward a goal. It also compels you to continue to grow as a leader.
A personal leadership vision has four key components:
- A future orientation. You should focus on a short enough time-frame that you can imagine the actions necessary to make it happen.
- A compelling story. It should appeal to your head and heart.
- A vivid image. It should be easy to visualize and remember.
- An achievable stretch goal. It should be challenging but not impossible to reach through persistence and with the support of others.
Be sure that your vision describes something you want, not something you don’t want (focus on the positive and drown away the negativity).For example, you may envision your business unit developing a new product that excites employees and customers rather than one that doesn’t lose ground against the competition.
In order to draft your personal leadership vision:
- Think about the future. Consider questions such as:
- What does my organization need from me? My team? My peers?
- If my team could accomplish anything over the next few years, what would I want it to be?
- At the end of my career, how do I want people to think of me?
- At the end of my life, what will I regret not doing, seeing, or achieving?
- Compose a draft of your vision—how you want to be as a leader and what you want to accomplish in the next five to 10 years. Write your vision in the first person, and as if the events that you are describing are already happening.
- Share a one-minute version with others. The process of saying your vision out loud should bring a sense of excitement and potential.
- Revise your draft to ensure that it’s both really true and truly inspiring—to yourself and others. It’s always an option to improve on your leadership vision.
- Take steps to make this vision a reality. Do you need to build your skills in certain areas? Research a new business opportunity that you can propose to senior leaders? Show initiative, but know when to speak up, but make sure to do your research thoroughly.