Leadership Lesson #3: Figure Out Where You Want to Go and How You Will Get There
by George Virtue, CPA, CA, Managing Partner
What are your core values, your purpose, and your mission? What are the principles from which you will never waiver as you build the business that will achieve your vision? If you cannot readily answer these questions, I suggest that your chance for achieving success is much lower than you might think.
If you don’t know where you are going, how can you possibly plan the route that will take you there? If you do not share the same goals and desires as your team members, which direction will the team take? And finally, if you don’t know where you want to go, how will you be able to inspire others to follow you?
In the book Built to Last, Jim Collins encourages us to create our vision by combining our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) with our Core Values. When the partners of my accounting firm decided to rebuild, our BHAG was to create a successful firm where every team member had fun at work every day. (I must admit the idea of having fun while working at an accounting firm seemed akin to having fun in the dentist’s chair!) But we focused our core values around truly caring – about our people, our clients and our communities. And by combining those values with our BHAG, we developed our Mission Statement that guided us and gave us the courage to make tough decisions during tough times.
Developing a Vision and Mission Statement is a huge undertaking. By taking some advice from the book The Power of Why, this challenge can be made a bit easier. Ask yourself one question: “Why?” If the answer is to make a profit, start over! What is the true purpose of your work? When you start with why, articulate your vision for the future and are guided by your core values you will achieve success. It won’t be easy, but most things worth achieving usually aren’t.
Often great leaders are referred to as “visionary”. They developed a vision, articulated the vision so that others understood it and were motivated by it, and they developed strategies and plans to make the vision become reality. We all have the ability to be visionary – whether it is with our personal lives, our businesses, our teams, our families or with the communities in which we live. Is your organization guided by core values towards a visionary future? If not, are you the next visionary leader?
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