Great LEADERSHIP is all about your VISION

Leadership vision by Richard Gourlay

Great LEADERSHIP is all about your VISION 

Having a Vision for your business is the most important leadership trait for a successful leader to have. For leaders to lead they must have a strategic vision for their business. A clear future state they want to achieve. One which provides not only an optimum place within their market they want to be; but one which inspires, motivates and drives the organisation to achieve.

Great leaders may be charismatic, they may even be likeable, but for them to be successful they must be able to communicate and inspire others through their vision. A vision is a future place within tomorrow’s market.

Leader’s must create a vision which is not only aspirational for themselves but motivational for the all stakeholders.

A recent survey of 1,439 chief executives and senior HR people from 707 organizations across the globe, found that the outstanding trait of successful leadership is the ability to create and communicate a VISION. This is the single most important characteristic for success.  Amongst those interviewed a clear vision scored an impressive 92% amongst such high level people in business. This demonstrates just how important a characteristic this is in creating a successful leader.

Vision to make change n business by Richard Gourlay“Without a clear vision no leader can succeed today in business”

Creating a VISION

Creating a vision is not easy. Leaders are busy people fighting to keep their business on track, dealing with day-to-day issues and making decisions based upon facts and figures. That last point is therefore a real challenge for leaders in developing a vision. This is because there are no facts and figures about the future. The future, by definition is unknown. Instead leaders must rely upon a range of forecasting tools, from gut feel or by benchmarking agianst others, to develop their vision of what the future might look like.

Each of these options in forecasting the future are fraught with danger and risk. Both in terms of making decisions based upon inaccurate perceptions or the damage to their credibility as a leader. Following others through benchmarking is always the safest option for leaders. But this limits leaders to be a follower within any market sector, rather than to lead it from the front in their sector.

Dealing with Change

For leaders to lead, they must be able to deal with change. Change happens in-perceivably until it is obvious. Every day we grow older but it is only when we look back we see how we have aged. The same is true for a business in any market. Even when change is driven by disruptive new entrants, the change that enables new players to enter a market is caused by subtle sometimes in-perceptivable changes within a market. Change is everything and is happening all the time.  Subtle innocuous and minor alterations in a market can become future key drivers of change which create new opportunities are areas which leaders need to keep aware of and proactively respond too.

Change is the only constant in any business. The market is always moving either through Macro market factors or through Micro market factors. Good leaders need to be continually scanning and monitoring both and assessing likely positive and negative  impacts upon their business, their customers and their channels to market and value perceptions of their brand.

McKinsey7-S-Model to assess a company structure

Challenges for Leadership 

Failing to validate and then alter a business model to reflect changes in the market towards the delivery of a vision, is the single biggest single reason chief executives fail.

Leaders have to carry people with them for their vision to be live. Poor communication skills are at the heart of why visions and therefore leaders fail to succeed. Leaders must be able to create, verbalise and rationalise to others their vision to generate buy-in and carry their senior people with them. For a vision to succeed leaders have to build relationships. This starts in developing trust in their future and develop a team culture all working towards that vision. The inability for leaders to invest in developing their vision often results in the lack of trust and development within the senior team.  This failure to develop leadership soft skills, is a major area leaders must invest in to improve their effectiveness as a leader.

Leadership is both Science and Art

Leadership is a balance between science and art. Creating a vision is often seen as an art, but for a vision to connect with senior stakeholders visions require a scientific rationale. It is the old adage we buy with the heart and justify with our head. A solid vision is both a visual message but one backed up with both direct and indirect evidence of that future state in which the leader’s vision sits. A successful vision pulls people together through shred valued values across the organisation what creates and sustains those values.

Key Communication Skills

The importance of being financial and operationally literate to the CEO role is always seen as core leadership skills. These hard skills are often key drivers of leadership assessment. Which is why so many CEO’s come from finance and operations leadership backgrounds. Today these competencies are seen as important for any CEO role.

In todays’ business environment CEO’s are being selected based upon having a demonstrated track record of delivering strategic vision. The ability to inspire others through delivering a strategic vision is now being seen as the most important track record for successful leadership.

Succession Planning 

The importance of succession and smooth transition is becoming more important element for successful leadership. Companies today are investing time and effort in succession planning. Well planned succession planning ensures long-term shareholder value and the ability of avoiding the football management culture of overnight change. Poor leadership choice often leads to cultural conflict and short-term reactionary thinking leads to rapid and unsustainable change. Both these mentalities damage the long-term sustainability of a successful business.  The leadership teams ability to develop successors who are able to support and follow through a vision is becoming an integral part of the CEO role.

Business leaders all recognise that talent management plans, including succession management have become essential for sustained performance in today’s organisations.

If you want to develop your company’s position then there needs to be a clear vision for it. Vitally answering the questions where it is going and why? If your are looking for some advice on developing your company, its marketing, its sustainable competitive advantage then contact us at Cowden Consulting. Let us see how we can assist you, or read more about us in this blog or at Cowden Consulting.

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By Richard Gourlay

Richard Gourlay, experienced management consultant, leadership development and strategic advisor to high growth companies. Author of book:- Strategy: The Leader's Role by Richard Gourlay builds the skills which makes leaders successful in their business. #dumfries #galloway #scotland, #mentor, #castledouglas, #leadershipskills.