This week’s post was written by Doug Post.
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl shared that the single most significant factor for survival was a sense of future vision, a conviction that one still had important work to do. Vision is the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist, to become what we not yet are.
“Interstates leaders are tireless believers in people,” is how I remember Jim Franken, our CEO in the 1990s, kicking off his vision for a “new” Interstates that focused on leadership development. This was a startling change for a company previously focused on technical expertise. Through sharing his vision at company forums, leading us all through a book review of The 21 Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell, and by hiring non-technical leaders, Jim cast his vision for leadership at Interstates, and it became ours. After his untimely death, his direct reports were instrumental in continuing his vision through what we know today as our Excellence in Leadership (EIL) series of courses.
Jim developed and shared a compelling vision for leadership at Interstates. It was timely, enabling opportunity-seeking employees to contribute. He was persistent, always reminding us to lead better. He was inspiring, convincing us that we could contribute more than we thought possible. He was motivating, driving growth like we hadn’t been a part of before.
In sum, great leaders cast a vision for their people so that:
- They have a purpose larger than themselves.
- They know where they are going.
- They can create what doesn’t yet exist.
- They are empowered to perform beyond their resources.
You do not need to be CEO to cast a compelling vision. Interstates leaders understand their staff’s current state and connect their department or project team’s goals to the Interstates’ WHY by making it practical for their people’s day-to-day work. If you are a PM, begin your project meetings with a discussion on how they are “making a difference with our clients,” or ask, “Are we really understanding their needs?” If you lead a department or a team, do training goals and internal processes reflect a commitment to our vision?
I encourage you to frequently look beyond today to your picture of the future. Each day, make time to have one conversation or to take one step toward a better tomorrow.
Continue leading the Interstates Way – turn our vision into reality!