Volume 60, March 2006: The Power of Vision

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2006 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

“A vision without action is a daydream: but then again, action without a vision is called a nightmare.” — Jim Sorenson

“The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and idealist.” — Eric Hoffer

“The wisest keeps something of the vision of a child. Though he may understand a thousand things a child could not understand, he is always a beginner, close to the original meaning of life.” — John Macy


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Assuming the role of designer – of the future vision and the learning process.
  • The ability to dream beyond the constraints of today.
  • Building shared vision and fostering genuine commitment to the dream.
  • Speaking in “word pictures” (of the future) so other can “see” themselves in it.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

The life of a leader is often cluttered with activity. Rarely is there quiet time for reflection. Schedule time to dream, in a peaceful place. Try daydreaming at first alone, and then with your team. Let your intuitive side loose, and think freeform, without stopping to evaluate or judge the merit of ideas. Focus on a problem you want to solve, a business or service line you would like to start, ways that you could delight your customers. After the daydreaming, write the vision down or it easily evaporates – like all dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions

“I am confused. We have a mission and values statement. Doesn’t this take care of it?”
The governing ideas of an organization are:
  • Mission or purpose – Why doe we exist?
  • Vision – What is our desired future?
  • Values – How do we want to act along the way?

Together these form the aim of the organization. They link to each other, in that the Vision is the Purpose extended into the future; and the Vision is the Values expressed in action. Do you have a Vision? The test is: Does it allow you to see the future with word pictures – i.e., provide a mental image? (The mind thinks in pictures.) And does it inspire its listeners and readers, along the dimensions in the next question?

“How would you describe a good vision?”
A good vision creates a pictureof the best possible future, your hoped-for destination. Peter Senge (1994) says that good visionscapture hearts, inspire people, uplift and bind people together in a sense ofgreater good. A successful vision, say Kouzes and Posner (1995), releases the energy needed to motivate an organization to action. Visions are our deepest expressions of what we want to create, a product of the head and heart working together (Parker, 1990). Consider the “creative tension” of a vision – it is always out there. It is a Pull strategy, not a Push strategy. Focusing on problems or limitations or on the competition does not have the same uplifting or enduring effect.
“How do you get commitment to a vision?”
In The Strategic Plan, we discussed creating a “shared vision,”rather than developing a vision and sharing it. Build vision through ongoing interactions and conversations with staff. People will support what they helped to create. In our Planning Conferences, a critical step is to get everyone in the room. After their Collective Visioning process, it is useful to:
  • write down the elements of the vision;
  • identify key themes and build consensus;
  • ask people to identify areas of personal interest;
  • have them help draft a plan; and
  • enroll by taking responsibility for making the plan happen.

The commitment is thus built through a voluntary, consensus process (see Key, 1999). Margaret Wheatley (2001) has a concept of vision as a “field” – like electromagnetism. By its permeating the entire organization, we take advantage of its formative properties. All employees who bump into it will be influenced by it. Stephen Covey (1991) says that the act of visualizing something organizes the abilities to bring it about. In this way, a vision is self- organizing.

“How do you reinforce a vision?”
  • Stories
  • Sayings
  • Shared activities
  • Model the way
  • Personally report on your progress toward the vision
  • Mark passing of the “old way”
  • Ceremonies
  • Symbols, artifacts
  • Teachable moments
  • “Field Meetings” (see The Strategic Plan)


Curriculum for Circles of Change: http://www.spiritinaction.net/ezpublish/index.php/spirit/circles_curriculum.

Visionary Leadership Training and Workshop: http://www.visioncoaching.it/visionary_workshop.php.

Keyzines on related topics: Change, Dialogue: Thinking Together, Building Community, and The Strategic Plan.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Key Associates assists organizations in creating shared visions: Future Search.

Methodology for Visioning Scenarios.



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