Monday, August 20, 2007

The Leadership Summit - Session 1 - A Vision to Die For

The Leadership Summit
Notes from Session 1 - A Vision to Die For, Bill Hybels

Vision must be owned. Ownership is the most powerful weapon in casting and maintaining vision for your organization. It's the painting of the picture that brings passion out of people. It ties into purpose – a sense of destiny beyond to 9 to 5.

Hybels referenced the book of John – Being an owner vs. just a hired hand.

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him." - John 10:11-13

Hybels challenged us to ask ourselves, "At my current workplace, am I the owner of the vision, or the hired hand?" Do I pray for it, protect it, volunteer for it. Owners of the vision will sacrifice deeply. They will be high capacity workers.

Hybels then referenced a group that was an owner of a vision. On March 7, 1965, a group of civil rights marches left Selma, Alabama for Birmingham. They made it as far as the Edmund Pettis Bridge. There they faced state troopers and county sheriffs armed with billy clubs tear gas and bullwhips. The lawmen attacked the peaceful protesters and drove them back to Selma. This event became known as Bloody Sunday. Owners of a vision will be willing to die for the cause.

Out vision is so important. It should be bold, faithful, honorable, and clear. But vision needs to be owned by the people in our organization.

How do we do this? For some Type-A leaders who live on blazing a trail and calling back to everyone to follow their lead, it's a four letter word: P-R-O-C-E-S-S. Without process, we defeat every one left out (which is everyone but the leader).

There are three steps in the process for vision ownership:
1. Vision Formation
There is the top-down approach (bad), or the team approach (good). The top down approach is so often taken because it is quick, but doesn't take, doesn't hold.

The recommendation on the team approach was to have an offsite, with the focus being the question "What should our organization look like in five years?" It may feel slow or inefficient, and to some quick-acting leaders like "swimming in peanut butter." But this builds community, value and more likelihood of ownership. The team members may not always have their way, but they at least need to know their ideas have been considered.

2. Vision Refinement
Make a first draft of the vision. This crystallizes it, even in draft form. Take this draft to the groups at the next level out, trying to get different types of groups, feedback. Ask what's clear, what's confusing, what excites you, what scares you. The goal is to come away with a crystal clear, compelling vision.

3. Vision Declaration

Introduce the vision in front of leaders first, asking if it is clear and compelling. The declaration is not a solo effort, but a team activity.

Great leaders know that more time in the vision casting process increases ownership. Vision leaks, but don't berate the workers for this. Use any tactics to keep refilling the vision. And remember to celebrate progress.

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