Category Archives: Visionary Leadership
Last month Peter Barron Stark, an executive coach on San Diego, tweeted about this leader who had a question about “this vision thing”.
Recently an #executive asked me “Is this vision thing overrated?” What do you think? Do you think that #vision is overrated? #leadership https://t.co/FlF6agmKAr— Peter Barron Stark (@peterbstark) April 1, 2019
It brought up some thoughts as to why some leaders don’t really get “that vision thing”.
They don’t see past the “action-results” dynamic. As Stark iterated, vision drives behaviors whether they’re positive, status quo based or negative. Many leaders get stuck in the thinking that results are the by-product of actions, so actions must be driven. That creates results, but many of them are mixed, some positive, some status quo and some negative. Leaders need to back up a step to create a vision that drives the actions towards positive results.
Some don’t truly understand what drives human behavior. Not employee behavior, but human behavior. People, especially the younger generations of Millennials and iGen. They want the vision to much of what they do, not a “do as I say” culture. People are connected best with the big picture, buying into what it means for them. It creates connected partners with more passion and at stake in the results versus compelled workers who mostly try to hang on.
Don’t value vision as a priority. It is said that what you do is what is important to you, and what you don’t do, you don’t value. Simply stated, if a leader doesn’t create vision, it’s not important to them. it’s never too late to get a vision clearly established, but to claim there is no time or it’s not important will hamper your overall goals.
Vision challenges their leadership style. Vision will often expose the efforts of leaders whose styles include being solely results-oriented, a micro-manager, top-down-chain-of-command or managing on a need-to-know basis. Vision creates transparency and accountability as everyone is committed to the behaviors that will achieve it.
They’re dominated by short-term thinking. This year’s budget is all that matters with no set up for the overall culture or future goals. That might be good to hit numbers, but it never drives a lasting and sustainable organization. Long-term vision and people development get sacrificed for the results of the fiscal year when this year’s numbers are preeminent.
Understanding vision is to understand human performance. Without vision, people and organizations perish. With it, they not only succeed but thrive.
Much of our leadership is given to ensure our customers have the best CX – customer experience – or if you are in the tech industry, the best UX – user experience.
CX and UX. These symbols of experience are some of the core metrics and focuses that organizations hone in on to ensure they are meeting both differentiation and success in delivering the best experience to their external customers.
Yet how many of us are measuring what our internal customers – your staff – are experiencing?
In other words, how many of your employees are having the best LX – Leadership Experience?
While not in vogue as before, the term internal customers is used purposefully here to leverage what LX means.
Leaders are to provide cultures that deliver and serve their external customers a quality experience. However, many of those same leaders fail to give the same level of culture and service to their internal customers, their employees and teams.
That’s where Leadership Experience (LX) emerges. It’s the intersection of the relationship between employees and leaders, and the process of enhancing that working and cultural relationship within the organization.
This is not a new concept, as there are already LX conferences and courses that have been underway for a couple of years. But to better promote functional and synergistic workplaces, attract better talent, and feed the CX and UX experiences for your customers, LX should be at this time more of a core mindset to adopt to your own circumstances.
Just like the customer or user experiences, the leadership experience you generate is not a cookie-cutter plug-and-play process. It’s defined by the behaviors, skills, and relationships that comprise your teams as well as meet the needs, not only for improving morale and performance, but for strengthening a culture that becomes healthy, beneficial to all, and successful in its goals.
A great LX is not just a blanket program or one-size fits all culture. It is made up of the balanced blend of your cultural leadership approach to meet the needs of the organization as a whole as well as being able to meet every individuals’ needs as well. Think of a hotel that has a service culture that meets the needs of their guests but allows for individual needs to be met because of a particular guests schedule, accommodations, accessibility, dietary needs, and so on. Their CX is what each guest perceives it to be. Your LX is what each of your people perceives it to be as well.
We can look around today and see the poor LX that many workplaces have – pro sports teams, businesses, municipal departments, non-profit organizations, and even political organizations. Just a casual perusal of many of these mentioned gives cause to ponder what a great LX can do for any of those organizations. We can all imagine examples of these entities and how they could be transformed with a better leadership experience.
Yet it starts with you and me, where we are, and the sphere we influence in our current roles.
How can you provide the best LX in your world, right now, today?
Let’s ponder what your organization’s LX journey will be, and where it can impact in how others experience your leadership.
The oft-quoted (and also mis-quoted) proverb “You can’t save your way to prosperity” has a much more pertinent meaning for business.
Many companies, small business as well as large corporations, have struggled when they focus so much on the bottom line that they forget how to move forward and drive top-line revenues.
A Forbes article last month detailed how an entrepreneur’s previous startup consumed him because of the fear of financial losses. Worried too much about pinching pennies consumed him even though the company had millions in revenue.
He discovered that focusing solely on the bottom line was no way to run a business, let alone give himself any peace or lasting satisfaction. Once he discovered what he was doing wrong, he stepped back and formulated his next start up with a focus on driving revenue and creating value.
I often say that the problem with most floundering businesses is that they changed their game plan and started playing defense penny-wise when they should be more on the offense in building value for their customers. Simply stated, by having a vision towards building loyal customers and a complete value in everything you do will help get a company moving forward and not restrained by decisions on what to spend or not spend.
Penny pinching and bottom line focus shortens an organization’s vision and take the eyes off of most everything else, particularly your company values and mission statement. Granted, profitability should be a goal; however, having the right internal systems should ensure profitability flows down through from the top line revenues.
And yet, sales is not the be-all-and-end-all. Many companies are great at getting the sale or driving revenue, but create little lasting value that builds trust or commitment form their customers.
Creating value comes not only between your customers and your organization, but also a holistic synergy within your company that transcends the inner workings and augments that trust and commitment from your customers.
When a customer sees that your company will follow through to make things right for them, or that your team works in alignment with your core values which in turn prove your organization is what it says it is, you create a value that enhances the transaction-based part of the relationship. This creates more intrinsic value beyond what you bring to your customers, a value that you can never build focusing on the bottom line and pinching pennies en route to success.
Running a business with the majority of your focus on the bottom line is “penny-wise and pound foolish”. The best success comes by creating not just sales, but value beyond the transaction. Spend your efforts on value.