August 24, 2008

Do You Buy Your Leader’s Vision?

It is almost a rite of passage. The new incumbent starts his tenure by articulating his vision. It is grandiose, glamorous and catchy. After all the objective is to establish yourself as a credible leader and leadership without vision is almost an oxymoron.

But I am frequently disappointed because the vision unfortunately remains a vision. When the dust settles, I often find no perceptible change in how things operate and it makes me wonder. Is this vision thing a sham?

In some cases it is a sham. It is a political exercise to present yourself, garner support, make some connections and move on. The leader presumably had a different objective in mind, but used the vision thing to get what he wanted.

In some cases constraints get the better of intention. You cannot affect the change you want because of culture, financial or organization constraints.

And in some cases it is just a disconnect between vision and reality. You bite off more than you can chew. New Year resolutions are a good example of this syndrome. You aim too high and due to lack of progress lose interest.

There are leaders who can talk and then there are leaders who can deliver. I am biased towards the one that under promise and over deliver.

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