Why Vision Doesn’t Become Reality
It’s a tragedy really–great ideas that never see the light of day or even great ideas that do see the light of day but remain just that…ideas. I’ve met many leaders over the years who are super bright and full of vision. Yet many of these leaders frustrate those they lead because they don’t know how to take thier vision to a place of reality or they end up continually bringing new ideas without ensuring the previous ideas become reality first. I wish this were a rare occurrence, but it’s actually more the norm than not. So why does this happen and what can we do to start turning the tide?
There are two primary reasons I’ve observed: 1. Long range without being able to see the short range and 2. Failure to break the vision into strategic parts. Let’s start with number one. Some leaders have a great picture of the future that produces passion. It’s large, it’s dynamic and it’s a desired end goal for most in thier organization. The problem is it’s very different than the currently reality and therefore the leap from current to future is too large. One way to counter this issue is imagine intermediate realities or “phases” of the vision. Identify some key characteristics of the new vision including mindsets, structures etc. Then develop shorter range visions that will begin to foster the new desired mindset or set the stage for the new structures. Many times the vision is a very real possibility but if one waits for or gets frustrated by the lack of the full vision becoming real, they will find it rarely, if ever achieved. When you work with “vision phases” (which only can happen by dissecting the long range vision’s qualities and attributes) you can take the organizations through seasons of movement that ultimately arrive at the desired destination.
The second issue may be a little too large for a blog post, but I’ll introduce the concept here. Vision fulfillment is a strategy issue, a plan must be developed to actually accomplish the vision. This involves breaking the vision into individual parts and then developing a set of actions and criteria for each part. For example in my world (church life) a future vision may include people regularly inviting and bringing people to a compelling engaging weekend church experience. If I were to break this into it’s part there might be things like: the worship service, the kids experience, the guest welcoming and connecting experience, the parking lot, the mindset of the people, the leadership ethos and skills development etc etc. Once I can break the vision into these parts, I then can start asking about each part: what do I want to see that I’m not currently seeing? Why am I not seeing that? Is it a resource issue? Is it a training issue? Once I have those answers then I set out to develop or obtain the resources, train the people etc etc. As you can see this then brings me closer to seeing the vision become a reality.
There is lots more that could be said or does go into turning vision to reality, but I hope this brief overview can begin to move you in the right direction.