Aja Brown: When Vision Overcomes

Published August 13, 2019


Leading Organizations
The following are notes from Aja Brown’s talk at #GLS19. Use them to help you apply the content you learned at the Summit.


Leaders are:

  • Dedicated to overcoming obstacles
  • Invested in being a catalyst for progress
  • Leading themselves


If there is no new course of action, and the need for change is less tied to being efficient and more tied to survival, in order to utilize vision, move the mission forward.

  • Understanding about timing is essential and can make or break your calls


There is a huge difference between being busy and being fruitful.

  • Being fruitful is tied to production
  • Being busy is tied to actions not results
  • Jump-starting catalytic change is a direct byproduct of vision by collaboration and timing
  • When all of these factors are firing on all cylinders, production is imminent




Four Principles in Order to be Overcome with Vision:


1. Vision

  • The vehicle to creating momentum
  • Most of us want to go fast and dislike delay


Story of running for mayor: Aja knew the city needed a dynamic change and knew the critical need to connect and educate herself on the key issues in the community.

  • Everyone is an expert at their own posts, and you cannot lose by gaining information from those that you’re serving
  • People are a critical resource and people in position often take that for granted
  • Visioning is a process
  • It ensures that you are not working in a silo, and it also gives those voices of criticism a way to vent and come to the surface so that you can be tactical and address them head on
  • Building and creating any significant change requires buy-in
  • Leaders should draw from those they serve in order to get alignment to the organization
  • Create unity in order for common ground and goals to be identified in one action point
  • Defined shared progress upfront
  • Be clear on what you define progress to be or you’ll allow someone else to do it for you


2. Power

  • Vision has power strategically deployed
  • Launching a vision is the equivalent to sending a heat-seeking missile into the atmosphere
  • The missile may encounter obstructions and delays requiring a new route, but eventually it will hit the target
  • Vision doesn’t rely on one person, it relies on many
  • Once vision goes forward, the atmosphere begins
  • Vision is a consensus builder
  • Vision is a force multiplier


3. Timing

  • It takes time to be fruitful and to produce results
  • Example of scripture: God says, “Wait for it. And it will certainly come, and they will not delay.”
  • Certain conditions must be met in order to pick up momentum
  • God has another plan, and His timing is perfect and if you wait on that timing, the vision will manifest


4. Be Prepared

  • Having that strategy ready to meet the timing and produce fruitful results is critical and that’s what that vision does for us


So, how can we hone this vision?

1. Identify Your Objective

  • Know where you want to take the team
  • By defining a destination point, people can know where they are going
  • This informs everyone on how they can be a part of the bigger picture.

2. Find Progress

  • Establish critical milestones
  • Having midway points helps to delay fatigue
  • Indicators are helpful and keep us moving forward


3. Establish Priorities

  • Talk about what must be addressed
  • Identify what can wait
  • Critical resources must be appropriated elsewhere in order to achieve the larger vision


4. Communication

  • A communicable plan is essential to achieving meaningful participation
  • The essential ingredient to create momentum
  • People can’t go with you if they don’t know where you want to go
  • Communicating often is critical in order to get that momentum




5. Identical Obstacles in Advance

  • Be tactical when affecting change and know that there will be opposition
  • There will be people that don’t want to go in a new direction–that’s natural, so ensure that you have mapped that out


6. Navigation Plan

  • You need to be able to navigate over your obstacles and through them


7. Stay Focused and Informed

  • This is essential for the leader
  • When you’re in a position, when you’re leading people places, people will have their own agenda and it may be good, but it may not be God
  • Ensure that the vision you’ve set out is where you’re going and that you dedicate your critical resources to moving that forward
  • Obstacles and attacks aren’t defeats, they’re delays crafted to enforce growth in areas we may not know we need to develop
  • Expect obstacles and plan for them
  • Vision will manifest itself at the right time
  • What seems like a delay is an opportunity to adjust and to be able to activate
  • You do not fail unless you quit
  • In order to understand how to navigate that, we have to be able to understand the vision


Story of gang intervention: When Aja came into office in 2013, crime had spiked. She brought a team together to strategize what could be done. They sat down in the community center to talk and listen to the needs of the community. They talked about what the people needed to succeed.

  • Amazing things happen when people are on the same page working with one vision, together
  • Collaboration is your force
  • Stay connected to keep your momentum focused and growing
  • Empower people and develop more leaders


Ask Yourself:

  • How you can use vision to overcome your obstacles?
  • How you can use vision to create momentum?
  • How you can use vision as that vehicle for collaboration?
  • How can you use vision to direct change?



Click here to view the homepage of the GLS19 Session Notes.

About the Author
Aja Brown is a 2019 Global Leadership Summit Speaker.

Aja Brown


City of Compton

At the age of 31, Aja Brown made history as the youngest elected mayor of Compton, California. A national trailblazer, her revitalization strategy centers on family values, quality of life, economic development and infrastructural growth. Overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in 2017, Mayor Brown’s community initiatives and policy changes have significantly reduced gang-related homicides and the unemployment rate. Mayor Brown is the recipient of multiple honors, including the esteemed 2016 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award.

We welcome and encourage comments on this site. There may be some instances where comments will need to be edited or removed, such as:

  • Comments deemed to be spam or solely promotional in nature
  • Comments not relevant to the topic
  • Comments containing profane, offensive, or abusive language
  • Anonymous comments

If you have any questions on the commenting policy, please let us know at heretoserve@globalleadership.org

Join us LIVE Thursday-Friday, August 4-5, 2022Get your tickets for The Global Leadership Summit


Get your tickets before the early bird deadline of June 15, 2022, for $50 off the regular rate!

*Pricing to attend The Global Leadership Summit two-day event on August 4-5, 2022, at our early bird rate is $179 per person (not eligible for on-site main auditorium seats in South Barrington, IL.) All ticket sales are per-person in USD for registration to attend within the U.S. Guests from other countries please contact your GLN or GLS office.

You are located in: US

“We welcome and encourage comments on this site. There may be some instances where comments will need to be edited or removed, such as:

If you have any questions on the commenting policy, please let us know at heretoserve@globalleadership.org”

Select your location

Select your location