As the year draws to a close, it is customary to make a list of resolutions; all the ‘bad’ habits we’re going to break and the ‘good’ new behaviours we intend to adopt. Often, our best intentions have lapsed by Burns Night.
Instead of resolutions, I invite leaders to consider what it means to be resolute. One dictionary definition is to be purposeful. This is a trait that serves leaders well, particularly during uncertain times.
Every day, in our businesses and personal lives, we make plans despite the unknowns that lie ahead. But effective leaders don’t just plan tactical necessities or pursue arbitrary goals for growth. They hold a vision; a version of the future they intend to create with others. They are purposeful.
Creating your mission and a clear vision are the fundamental building blocks for every business. This has to be constructed at the highest level among the top team. Then it must be communicated effectively, in order to be understood and relevant to every individual so that they can play their part in realising the vision.
Forming your vision is not just what to do and how to do it, but it also involves why it is important. It is an expression of purpose. In creating your vision, think five to ten years ahead. What will the world be like and what’s your part in it?
Don’t get too hung up on things that are outside of your control when defining your vision. A vision can transcend that. It’s about belief that together you can find a way.
There’s always going to be competition, recessions around the corner, issues with customers, cash and employees, to a greater or lesser degree. A leader needs to be visionary and this is a skill that can be learned and developed. There’s plenty of evidence of this among the MDs, owners and directors of small and mid-sized businesses who take part in our leadership development programme, LEAD™. From all sectors, whether family businesses, scale-ups, or not-for-profits, they are developing their businesses through enhancing their leadership, growing in skills and self-belief. Many of them have written about their experiences in our magazine Leading - do contact us for a copy.
Vision has to come from the top team, not just one individual. Everything we talk about on our programmes is anti-hero-leadership. In owner-managed businesses, there are people at the top with the energy, passion and foresight. Part of their duty is to create and share a future that people buy into. They inspire belief in others, acting purposefully.
The next LEAD™ programme begins in April 2020, bringing together another small group of MDs, owner-managers, directors, senior managers and partners to explore their leadership and grow their companies.