Vision: Leadership Series Part Five of Seven

Part Five of Seven on Leadership: The Seven Commitments to Answering the Call to Lead

Vision is the GPS navigation system for leaders.

Vision is the entire purpose of Leadership. It’s the dog in a corn dog, the noodles in spaghetti, and the music at a dance. Without vision, a leader is nothing more than someone moving around making noise. The vision is the purpose of an organization. It’s the mission, or the direction in which the organization wants to move toward. Know this, an organization’s vision must be clear to everyone involved, and that is the job of a leader. A leader has this incredible ability to get everyone to enthusiastically work toward this common vision. In times of setback, defeat, and even failure, a true leader rallies everyone toward the vision once again.

The Statue of Liberty holds a special place in my heart as I am sure it does for many Americans. My grandmother and grandfather immigrated here from Ireland.  I grew up listening to my grandmother share stories about being aboard ship and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time. My grandmother immigrated here because of the American Dream. Being the youngest of a potato farming family during times of great hardship, she was in some way a part of that “wretched refuse” and the journey here definitely made her tempest-tossed.  She was by all means looking for opportunities.

These wise words penned by Emma Lazarus are indeed inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. While we all know that Lady Liberty was a gift from France, many do not know how the large pedestal on which the Statue rests was constructed.

Residents of Manhattan were asked to donate ten cents to help fund the construction of the pedestal. The pedestal would provide a base for the statue to rest and elevate it so it could be seen from great distances. The work would take months to complete and was very expensive.  Nearly all residents were eager to donate to this worthwhile cause, but there were of course a few who saw this endeavor as a waste of time and money.

One such man, complained about the fundraising for the pedestal.  Like an Ebenezer Scrooge, he refused to donate and found fault with everyone who gave money to the project or helped to organize fundraisers.

It is important to note that no one had seen the Statue of Liberty yet.  It was in a warehouse in pieces stored in crates. They had read about it and seen pictures, but it had not yet been assembled in the United States. Everyone was anxious to donate and see this amazing work of art, and beacon of freedom, assembled.  It was quite difficult, however, for this stingy character to visualize the majesty of this ten story statue, and so he never donated to the fund for the pedestal, not one dime.

Some time after the construction of the pedestal and the assembling of the statue, the man’s grandson begged him to go and see the statue.  He tried to refuse, but couldn’t. Upon arriving at Ellis Island, the man was in complete awe of Lady Liberty.  He was literally speechless. The statue’s size and grandeur, as well as the sense of freedom it conveyed overwhelmed him. Eventually the man and his grandson ascended to the top of the observatory inside Lady Liberty’s crown.  With a tear of shame running down his cheek, the man took a silver dollar from his pocket and jammed it into a small opening  he discovered.  He could not stand knowing that he was not part of something so wonderful.  He was unable to visualize what could have been.

Do not be like this man in Arthur Miller’s wonderful story, Grandpa and the Statue.  Answer the call to lead and make a difference in the lives of others. See the potential of yourself as a leader.  Our life is brief, but the contributions we make and the roles of leadership we choose are timeless.

If you do not have a vision yet, adopt one you admire until you can construct your own. Sometimes we use the vision of others as leaders, especially in sports teams.

The vision must:

1) Be incredibly short! In one sentence be able to state the vision.

2) Bring everyone together to achieve it, not separate individuals.

3) Challenge people to do their best work and become their best!

4) Be shared regularly.

5) Inspire enthusiasm and excitement. You are part of something bigger.

6) Encourage participation beyond normal expectations.

7) Everyone must understand how they can contribute to the vision.  If they don’t know, that’s your fault as a leader.

Kelly is an inspirational speaker, author, and artist.

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Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker. He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and anywhere people come together to be entertained and inspired. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.