“What leaders struggle with most is communicating an image of the future that draws others in – that speaks to what others see and feel.” (To Lead, Create a Shared Vision, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, Harvard Business Review, January 2009)
Do you have a vision statement-the “why” of what you do? What value do you bring to the customer? Why would they want to work with you, buy what you are selling, read what you are writing, or follow you to the promised land?
In other words, do you know who you are for the world?
Vision statements are how you “have me at hello”. Even if they reside solely in your mind they are valuable. They explain in words a chemistry that can be felt. Isn’t it exciting to find people who get it, get you and are passionate about the same thing OR who are looking for what you have to offer?
Let’s look at Nike’s vision statement to get a better idea of how simple and direct it should be:
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete.’ “
If you haven’t created a vision statement (even if you never speak it out loud, and all it does is reminds you of who you are and what your priorities are) are you relying on building relationships and hoping to gather your tribe because you think if people like you they will eventually follow you, buy your products, or join your cause?
I turned around to close the bathroom door and almost wedged my cat’s head in the space.
I was reminded of all the times my children followed me into the bathroom and I’d ask in frustration, “Why are you following me?” I’d ask the ones who’d tripped me up.
“Because we like you!” they’d answer with little smiles, not missing a beat as they maneuvered their way past me.
They liked me. Interesting. They didn’t care where I was going. They would follow me anywhere based on the feelings they had being around me. Needless to say, as my children grow up they are a bit more selective about where they follow me, and I’m a lot more aware of my influence on their lives.
There are two things going on in the beginning of all relationships that can be learned by anyone and transferred to business or a cause.
Listening to who someone is and what they are looking for, and being able to communicate how you can fill that need are two essential qualities of leadership. The masters of these skills know pretty quickly if and when there isn’t a match, say so, and point someone in the right direction.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to not only have someone feel good around you but also be able to understand right off the bat where you are going and feel like jumping on board because they want to go there too? How do you do that?
“The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present.” ~ James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Is it really that hard? Yes and no.
I have been online for two years working towards getting to the bottom, the essence of what and why I do what I do with family history. I’ve experimented and learned. I’ve never been clear about what I do, so I have friends and followers who support me because they either like me or are obligated to share my posts because we are on Triberr tribes together and that’s what we do.
However, I DO know how to figure out what you’re doing. I do know how to connect. That seems to me to be the easy part. It gets harder to manage my time with more connections, and I often stop to analyze the value of some of them – just because I love what someone is doing doesn’t mean that I have the time to support them. Sometimes it’s not about friendship but instead about showing up in the world to serve the people who need me in the 24 hours that showed up at my front door this morning. And my friends know that.
It’s a challenge explaining your life purpose, your soul, in a few sentences, but I want people to know where I’m going, what I’m doing, and why. It’s a great way to quickly find out who is staying in the “friend zone” and who is connecting deeper.
What if today you did the same thing and we found out we’re on a similar path-that we are pieces of the same puzzle and are working toward fulfilling the same mission?
I think they call the “place” where that happens a tribe….
What do you think?