It is important for a leader to be committed to a vision. When professors Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus studied the lives of ninety leaders, they found that “attention through vision” was one of their key leadership strategies. Vision is the ability to look beyond today, beyond the obstacles, beyond the majority opinion and gaze across the horizon of time and imagine greater things ahead. It is the ability to see what is not yet reality.
Vision includes foresight as well as insight. It requires a future orientation. Vision is a mental picture of what could be. It also suggests uniqueness, an implication that something special is going to happen.
How do you develop a vision? Writers James Kouzes and Barry Posner suggest the following:
You feel a strong inner sense of dissatisfaction with the way things are in your community, congregation or company and have an equally strong belief that things don’t have to be this way. Envisioning the future begins with a vague desire to do something that would challenge yourself and others. As the desire grows in intensity, so does your determination. The strength of this internal energy forces you to clarify what it is that you really want to do. You begin to get a sense of what you want the organization to look like, feel like, and be like when you and others have completed the journey.
When you have vision, it affects your attitude. You are more optimistic. You envision possibilities rather than probabilities.
Vision requires belief. It requires that you refuse to give in to temptation, doubt, or fear. It is a belief that sustains you through the difficult times. Vision requires commitment and endurance. It takes a willingness to be stretched.
Leaders with vision assume anything is possible. Without vision, we can see a difficulty in every opportunity. As we develop vision, we see an opportunity in every difficulty.