We are all in some kind of way leaders but the impact of our decisions is not always the same. A decision made by Larry Page impacts much more people than the CEO of a medium size company. The scale of the impact can also vary depending on the change it implies. We have a tendency to believe that people at the top of organization are supermen/women of businesses. They are able to see further than others and anticipate some changes that seem unpredictable.

There is no magic in being or becoming a "great" leader. Some leaders are followed by so many that we try to understand what makes them so special. It is a complex question that cannot be elucidated in one blog-post. We face different issues answered with different theories when trying to elucidate the Leadership Power: Does it come from personality traits, behavior, life experience, chance? I have a tendency to believe that it is a mix of all theories that exist out there. You have to get a chance to lead which may come from the way you already behave which is possibly linked to your early life experience that helped you form your personality. I would guess that with time research will have enough data to prove that nothing really predicts who is going to be a great leader but more how can anyone become one.

Furthermore, we sometime believe that there is a leadership talent that only few have. Imagine if we were wrong and that becoming a great leader was possible to anyone willing to put in the hard work. The question is more: Are you willing to work harder in order to get better? and all that just for the sake of improving yourself. You may never become Bill Gates or any other well-known Leader. On the other hand, you will positively impact the life of your followers. Is it worth it? yes, of course!

In the last few weeks, I read different books and article about learning and leadership. I have now the conviction that we can learn anything, even to become a better leader or improve an organization processes. You have to be willing to learn, to challenge your assumptions, to work harder than before and to look for improvement.

Here is a sum-up about learning:

  • Have a learning mindset like Dr. Dweck explains it in her book "Mindset the new psychology of success" 
  • See "failures" as indication of learning needs. e.g. Can't communicate clearly. Learn what good communication is and practice.
  • Find your purpose, find your fuel.
  • Focus Practice on improving specific skills 
  • Break the skill into smaller pieces
  • Learn the whole skill piece by piece 
  • Find a mentor, someone ahead of you who can show you the way.
  • Never give up

To become a better leaders you have to put in the hard work and be ready to expand your knowledge and experiences in order to achieve your goal. You are a learner even if you do not realize it. When you will face a difficult situation . Do not give up or stay with a fixed mindset. Be ready to accept to learn and grow. The question is are you ready to grow? Are you willing to see the world differently with more shades of grey and not as black or white?
The first questions you may have are: What is a vision and why should my company have one? You had a reason to start your own business or to take over your current leading position. You wanted to solve a problem or to satisfy a need you identified. You had a purpose. A business without a clear purpose is not going to develop well and will face different types of issues.

A vision is this beautiful picture, the feeling you have when you think of what your purpose is. It is looking into the horizon and watching the sunset without being able to touch the sun but feeling the warmth of the sunbeam on your skin. A vision is what clarifies what should be done in your company to achieve your purpose. It is like perfection, we know we can't achieve it but every attempt drives us closer to it. A vision helps overcome issues we face because we know where to go.

Your vision should help you go through the coming storms because your gaze is fixed and secured. It is like when you have a cup of coffee and walk back to your office, if you only pay attention to your coffee while walking back, chances are that the coffee will spill over but if you look in the distance and walk toward your goal the coffee will be safe as well as your clothes.

Having a clear vision, not a blurry and unclear one, helps to set best practices, become an example, encourage positive behavior, dictate the way you treat employees, customers, and stakeholders. Big and small companies face different issues with their vision. The small one may not know how to proceed and write a vision on their website while not living up to it. Big companies may face difficulties to spread the vision to all employees so that it irradiates inside and outside the company.

It is important to find your vision, not the one of your concurrent with a bit of salt and pepper. I mean, your vision for your company life. The thing that makes you go to work with a smile and give your best. You need time. You will not come up with your vision by reading my blog, but it is a starting point. If you are reading this you are ready to start the inquiring process. You have to articulate your vision until you can say: Now, I see in which direction we have to go.

Be careful to not mix up vision and mission! As I said a vision is like looking into the horizon while the mission is connecting the puzzle pieces together in order to move forward. For example, my vision is "Effective organizations with mindful communication and positive interactions" while my mission is to "Foster communication about organization efficiency with a focus on Human Capital". They are both similar in the general way but one is an illustration of what I want to see in the world while the second one focuses on the thing I will do to go toward my vision.

You could use the following questions to start elaborating your vision. Keep your business in mind while answering them

  • Why did I start a business?
  • Which problems/needs did I identify?
  • Why do I want to solve this problem / answer those needs?
  • How could things be better? 
  • How could it be in the future if I answered those needs or solved this issue?
  • What is my equivalent of a sunset? 
Take a piece of paper and start to write down every idea that pops up. Do not try to organize it at first. It can also help to do it with someone who will ask you questions to deepen your understanding. Then, when you got it all out, you could use the snow-card technique to organize the information. I wrote an article about it few months ago. Once your organized your ideas in clusters you can start to write sentences that encapsulate your idea. Select the sentence that reflects your ideas the most. Keep it simple as it will help you lead the way.  

You will naturally come up with some ideas for your mission. The things to do to get closer to your vision. I invite you to answer the following questions to determine your mission:
  • What do I offer?
  • How do I offer it?
  • Who are buying / using my services or products?
  • Who are my providers?
  • How do I behave with all stakeholders while following my vision?
  • What type of actions could damage my vision? 

Once your vision and mission are clear you can look back at you r organization and ask the question: Do we live our vision and mission everyday? if the answer is no, you could decide to let things as they are. However, I encourage you to identify the points that you have to improve in order to find ways to fulfill your mission and vision.

You are few step away from your dreamed organization. Just go for the distance.