Working in executive and governance recruitment, we’re often asked by people who are looking to take the next step in their career, what they should be doing now to get to where they want to go tomorrow. Most often, that career trajectory includes aspirations for a leadership role.
A key part of a role for any leader is around creating a strong vision for an organisation, its employees as well as other stakeholders. Hence the saying that leaders work on the business and managers work in the business.
However even as a manager there are opportunities for you to gain that valuable ‘visionary leadership’ experience and develop professionally for when new opportunities arise.
Here are three vision creation opportunities that come from the Harvard Business Review Leader’s Handbook.
Contributing to a senior leaders’ vision work
Creating a vision for an organisation in today’s dynamic, fast paced environment is a challenge in itself. And a good leader knows that developing something special requires outside thinking and knowledge. More specifically, people within the business who are at the coalface whether that’s operationally, understanding customer needs or having an intimate knowledge of the capability currently in this business. We’ve touched on this topic recently, where better decisions are made by being open minded and listening to the views of others.
Translating the company vision for your team
A company vision will never be realised without the buy-in of people in the business. The key to this is engagement and communication. Maybe you didn’t get involved in the creation of the vision but there is certainly an opportunity for you to translate that vision to your unit, function or team. It’s almost like a mini ‘vision crafting’ exercise in itself.
Developing a vision to cascade up
There are many examples where a vision was created not at senior leadership level but from further down the organisation and simply because it made sense it was adopted business wide. Again, bottom up visioning takes advantage of the specialised skills and knowledge of people in the business, who pass along workable insights to those who work on the business. Not all businesses are in this space but with today’s environment of exponential change and a focus on continual improvement/innovation, the best ideas can come from anywhere.
So how do you get started and take advantage of the opportunities presented above?
To begin with, make sure you understand what ‘vision’ clearly means, as opposed to mission, values or even strategy; vision is all about the future state. Open your eyes to where the opportunities lie, which might not be in your current organisation - for example you could be vision setting in a volunteer capacity in a local community group or not-for-profit Board. As with leaders, don’t go at it alone, remember to collaborate and engage others. If the opportunity presents itself, try shadowing leaders in your organisation and gaining first-hand experience around the process they use for vision setting.
If you are looking for assistance on how you can develop yourself professionally, in order to make that next step in your career, get in touch with us.
The Decipher Team
To stay on top of current people trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.