4 Ways That Vision Gets Lost (and How To Get It Back)Published June 27, 2016
I wear contacts. There, I said it.
Listen, vulnerability is not easy for me…so that was tough to admit.
But, seriously, I wear contacts. I’ve been wearing them for a long time now and I love the fact that I don’t have to put on glasses each day. I apologize for my strong views – especially to my glasses-wearing friends out there…but I’m a contacts kind of guy.
A few days ago, I was leaving work and my right contact became extremely blurry. I’m still not sure why exactly, but I could hardly see out of my right eye. I was confident that I could tolerate a little “blurry vision” since I only have a short drive home…but then my wife texted me and asked me to pick up dinner. So, instead of a 10-minute drive home only being able see out of my left eye, I now had to drive an extra 10 minutes AND interact with other people. It was an experience that I hope I never have to go through again.
I made it home, took out my contact and cleaned it, and then I was able to see clearly again. All was good in the world again. But, I think this happens in our organizations more often than we’re willing to admit.
The vision gets blurry. We can’t see clearly where we’re going. We can feel our way around and use our instincts to get us where we need to go…but it’s awkward and dysfunctional and we can end up at a place where we never wanted to be.
I’ve found that there are four primary ways vision gets blurry, or lost in an organization. The good news, though, is that here is a way to get your vision back and get on the right track again.
How Vision Gets Blurry
- The leader stops talking about it. We think we’ve said it enough…or too much. Or, other issues come up that require our focus. Whatever the rationale or the excuse is, we just simply stop talking about it. It’s our vision and it’s intuitive to us, but for everyone else, it’s not their vision – so they need to hear about it regularly. They need to hear your passion for the vision. They need to understand that the vision is still relevant. No one is going to talk about the vision the same as you do, so it is vitally important that you, as the leader, talk about it regularly and often.
- The people get distracted by tasks. There’s a lot to be done, right? There are calls to be made, people to be visited, meetings to be had, and the list goes on and on. The reality is that the tasks that are on the to-do list should be more than just a task…they should be a way to achieve the vision. What happens far too often is that the people we work with exchange the vision for tasks – and the vision gets lost. They begin to lose the understanding of the connection between their tasks and the vision. As leaders, it is key to remind the team regularly of how their tasks move us closer to the goal.
- The losses outweigh the wins. On any journey toward a vision, there are going to be losses. These can be temporary setbacks, mistakes, missed opportunities, etc. What can happen is that the losses can begin to outweigh the wins. And, I don’t just mean there are MORE losses than wins. I am also suggesting that the losses can end up getting more focus than the wins. When we lose on the way toward a vision, it means there’s often a problem that needs to be addressed. If we only talk about mistakes and setbacks and we never share the wins, then the team (and the leader, too) can begin to become disillusioned with the vision and lose focus. But, if we are intentional about sharing and talking about wins, then the vision becomes more appealing and attainable in the minds of everyone involved.
- Key people on the team change. When a leader casts vision, he/she cannot carry out that vision alone. They need others to help them not only complete the tasks, but also carry forward the passion behind the vision. This is the role of the key leaders on your team—board members, executive leadership, etc. And, when someone on that team changes (or, a lot of people on those teams change), the vision can easily get lost. The important thing to recognize here is that as much energy as you spent on the front end casting the original vision, you must be careful to take just as much energy to onboard new key leaders to that vision. The benefits will be exponential and will increase the likelihood of getting closer to the vision.
When my contact became blurry, I wasn’t at my best. When the vision of your organization becomes blurry, it is not at its best. Take some time today to consider if your vision is lost and which of these four reasons is impacting it the most—and then take action. Get your vision back and lead your team forward!
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About the Author
Tim Parsons serves as lead pastor at The Journey Church outside Indianapolis. With a passion to help people lead better at work and at home, his church has been a longtime partner with us as a Premier Host for The Global Leadership Summit. He is the co-author of the new devotional for men, Equipping the Warrior and author of the soon to be released 40-day devotional on spiritual health, The Journey. You can connect with Tim at timparsons.me.