Have you ever been led by a leader who doesn’t really know what he wants? To answer in the affirmative is to risk exposing unwelcome realities.  Yet to many who have been there, who have lived through life in a hodgepodge of people around them, one cannot possibly deny that at least at some point in time, he had ran into a leader that really didn’t have the vision to keep the flock going.

This is not in any way intended to shoot anyone down.  Rather, this blog is a reminder to everyone that without the right vision, leadership will crumble from bottom’s up.  When one sees no point in what he does, the only thing that’s left in the severing of ties is the lack of a greener pasture elsewhere.

John Maxwell said it rightly in his book “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”

Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.

There’s a lot of truth in what he said.  Anyone can take the helm of leadership, but unless he can convince the crew that his course is the right course, it’ll be a rocky road up ahead.

To be a good leader is to have a vision for the flock.  A vision to help them grow.  To make them find fulfillment in what they do.

Here’s an excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s Biography of Steve Jobs:

The retreat in September 1982 was at the Pajaro Dunes near Monterey.  Fifty or so members of the Mac division sat in the lodge facing a fireplace.  Jobs sat on top of a table in front of them . He spoke quietly for awhile, then walked to an easel and began posting his thoughts.

The first was “Don’t compromise.” It was an injunction that would, over time, be both helpful and harmful.  Most technology teams made trade-offs.  The Mac, on the other hand, would end up being as “insanely great” as Jobs and his acolytes could possibly make it—but it would not ship for another sixteen months, way behind schedule.  After mentioning a scheduled completion date, he told them, “It would be better to miss than to turn out the wrong thing.”  A different type of project manager, willing to make some trade-offs, might try to lock in dates after which no changes could be made.  Not Jobs.  He displayed another maxim: “It’s not done until it ships.”

Another chart contained a kooan-like phrase that he later told me was his favorite maxim: “The journey is the reward.” the Mac team, he liked to emphasize, was a special corps with an exalted mission.  Someday they would all look back on their journey together and, forgetting or laughing off the painful moments, would regard it as a magical high point in their lives.

At the end of the presentation someone asked whether he thought they should do some market research to see what customers wanted. “No,” he replied, “because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.” Then he pulled out a device that was about the size of a desk diary.  ”Do you want to see something neat?” When he flipped it open, it turned out to be a mock-up of a computer that could fit on your lap, with a keyboard and screen hinged together like a notebook.  “This is my dream of what we will be making in the mid-to late eighties,” he said.  They were building a company that would invent the future.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (pages 142-143)

Steve Jobs, is to me, a lifelong hero.  A visionary.  One who masterfully use his vision to captivate and empower the crowd to rally behind his leadership.

And in 1984, this is the fruit of their labor after years of hard work:

I could just imagine how proud I would be, sitting among the crowd and telling them that I’m among those who spent sleepless nights to create something amazing… something… Insanely Great.

Every good leader must have a good vision as a backbone to his leadership.  It is certainly, an integral part for success.


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