Ken Blanchard thinks there is a major missing ingredient in Washington that is present in great organizations: a compelling vision.
Few people have impacted the day-to-day management of people and companies more than Ken Blanchard. A gregarious, sought-after author, speaker, and business consultant, he is characterized by friends, colleagues, and clients as one of the most insightful, powerful, and compassionate individuals in business today.
Blanchard’s bold statement?
We are in desperate need of a clear and compelling vision for our country.
A vision is a picture of the future that produces passion, and it’s this passion that people want to follow. An organization without a clear vision or goals is like a river without banks—it stagnates and goes nowhere.
Here’s how Blanchard takes the concept of creating a compelling vision one segment at a time and applies it to Washington.
>>Do we know what business we are in as a country?
A significant purpose tells you the reason for your existence. In other words, it answers the question “Why?” rather than just explaining what you intend to do. So, what’s the purpose of the United States?
>>What is America’s picture of the future?
The second aspect of a compelling vision is a picture of the future. What do you want to be true in the future that is not true today? If you do a great job at what you’re doing, what will happen? Focus on the end result, not the process of getting there. And your picture of the end result should not be abstract—it should be a mental image you actually can visualize. So what’s the picture of the future for our country?
>>Do we have any agreed-upon values in our country?
The last component of a compelling vision is having a clear set of operating values. What will guide our behavior as we move forward? Values provide guidelines for how you should proceed as you pursue your purpose and the picture of the future. They answer the questions “What do I want to live by?” and “How?” What are the operating values that should guide the behavior of our leaders in Washington?
For a compelling vision to endure, all three elements—a significant purpose, a picture of the future, and clear values—are needed to guide behavior on a day-to-day basis.
Blanchard illustrates a compelling vision with this story:
A perfect example of this is the way Martin Luther King, Jr. outlined his vision and beliefs about equality and freedom in his “I Have a Dream” speech. By describing a picture of the future where his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” he created powerful and specific images arising from the values of brotherhood, respect, and freedom for all—values that resonate with those of the founding values of the United States. King’s vision continues to mobilize and guide people beyond his lifetime because it illuminates a significant purpose, provides a picture of the future, and describes values that resonate with people’s hopes and dreams.
What are America’s key national goals?
If our leaders had a clear, agreed-upon vision, it would help them set national goals they could focus on. Then they could invite everyone, including citizens, to play a part in accomplishing these goals.
If people don’t have a larger purpose to serve, the only thing they have to serve is themselves.
Read the full article here.
Note: Tomorrow, August 28th, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech mentioned by Ken Blanchard above. The Vision Room will have a special post honoring Dr. King and demonstrating the power of a vision communicated well.