After you read the vision statements below, I’ll ask how they impacted you, and share their impact on several hundred participants in leadership development programs:
“If there are poor on the moon, we will go there, too.”
“Ordinary people are capable of extraordinary results; never
“The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should
-Chief Joseph, Nez Perce Leader
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do
-President John F. Kennedy
“We should acknowledge differences, we should greet differences
-Dr. Adela Artola Allen, Educator
What emotional impact did these have on you? How would you likely feel about working for a manager, boss, or leader who talks this way, assuming they were sincere?
Makes you want to be amazing.
Notice how their action responses pertain to motivation: like many others, I suggest we really don’t motivate other people. Instead, other people motivate themselves.
Aren’t these the kind of results you want from employees based on how their leaders work with them?
Admittedly, these are “high flying” statements by people who were gifted in many ways. I’m not suggesting that aspiring or existing leaders create grandiose and over-inflated statements that leave people shaking their heads.
However, if such statements can help develop positive, motivating, responses like the ones above, shouldn’t we help leaders on all levels develop and speak them?
1) “What kind of a leader do I want to be?”
A vision that’s personal and meaningful to the individual.
“I want to help my people accomplish results they didn’t think were possible.”
“I want to be the kind of leader who attracts people who want to work with me.”
“I want my employees to sense that I care about them deeply.”
- Easy to understand
- Have an inspirational tone
- Are meaningful to the person making them
- Are appropriate for their role in the organization
home residents) with compassion, dignity, and genuine concern.”
with other departments.”
- Specific; state a clear goal
- Results and outcome-oriented
- Ambitious: a stretch to accomplish
accomplish, this one’s about working together:
“I want us to be able to go to another person with a concern we
- Inclusive; apply to everyone
- Provide expectations
- Good human relations
Two reasons they don’t: they often aren’t shown a simple and effective process (like this one), to create a vision, and much of the time “creating visions” is something that’s left up to top management.
Free people to communicate & do more productive work.
Conversations at Work helps people in organizations have the workplace
conversations they’ve been avoiding—and improve productivity.