I am very fortunate to have worked with a company for many years that hires team members in a non traditional manner. While sometimes we hire to fill a specific position, there have been just as many occasions that we simply hire because of the person. What that means is that when we are presented with someone who appears to be a good fit with our culture and is otherwise qualified, we may not have a need for them at the current time, but we hire them because they complement our team and deep knowledge base.
Because of that practice, our culture is hard to beat and from my perspective there is a sincere level of appreciation and respect for all members of the team, no matter what technical level they fall under. I was having a conversation with one of those team members recently about what it takes to lead an organization, and he made a comment that has resonated with me for several days. He said “You cannot lead an organization without vision. I (referring to him) view the task at hand and how it impacts today. A leader sees the impact of that decision and how it will affect the people, the process, and the organization with the end in mind”.
He was spot on, and it has really made me think about what it takes to be a successful leader, especially when you are dealing with a business that is in the growth stage.
My position is not unique – there are people everywhere leading the ultimate success, or failure of their organizations. The range is just as vast – small not for profits to billion dollar for profit companies. The job of leadership, at its core is truly about that vision. The vision that is transcribed from the leader must facilitate and manage the continuous improvement of the organization around a swirling mass of technology, people, processes and emotions that are constantly in a state of change.
A leader that exercises good vision is able to see the potential in all of these dynamic forces and map them to their highest and best uses. Another way of saying this is that the best leaders share a very unique characteristic: VISION: They see things that others don’t or cant. The vision turns the potential into a reality. It is a difficult job – mapping out the pathways to achieve that vision, and always being on top of the change to understand and try to imagine how it will impact the organization.
From my perspective, it is a fine line to walk not to micro manage any member of your team, but each task, each conversation requires particular attention without perceived intervention. It requires me to always be asking “why are we doing this?” or “what is the end goal of this process/task/method?”
Once you have analyzed your current position against the vision, you have to have the drive to make the change happen. Continually challenging the status quo without repatriation from your team, outside investors and naysayers, and displaying the strength and the fortitude to see those changes through.
In summary, he was right, being a leader requires vision. That is the necessary starting point, but you have to drive all of your resources towards that vision, and a vision without action means nothing.
What have you done to be a leader today?