I believe you will be the same person you are today one year from now. Perhaps except for the books you read and the people you meet. That is why I am constantly reading and devouring the best literature on business and leadership I can find. I take advantage of my travels to meet some truly gifted leaders in their fields. I want the positive traits I learn in reading or meeting gifted people to become part of my thinking. I want to assimilate their wisdom and distill it into something that shapes my character and my personality. You and I may like who we are now, but that may not be sufficient to accomplish what we are challenged with during our lives.
That’s why I am dedicating this blog post (and many others to come) on what leadership is. This will be a place where I share with you the insights I’ve gained from the experts I’ve met. Before we get started, let's establish my definitions for what leadership is. To me, leadership involves four core abilities, which are:
VISION-CASTING. Whoever is casting a vision for the company is the leader. This is the essence of leading. Where there is no vision, the company dies. And your company is either growing or it is dying. There is really no in-between. You are trending towards more growth or you are trending towards going out of business. These trends are led by the vision and is what tells investors, employees, and fellow leaders where the company is heading.
Vision casting is not just important, it is a MUST. Vision is not something that can be given to another person. You must see it yourself. You can't preach someone else's vision. It's not like borrowing ideas. No, vision comes from deep inside the very spirit of man. It is what he sees that others don't see and leadership is the ability to speak that vision into existence. When this is done correctly, others will become filled with passion to help carry out that vision and build it into something extraordinary.
THE VISIONARIES. Thomas Edison saw the light bulb. It took him 10,000 failures before it became something powerful, but her never gave up until it was perfected. Henry Ford saw the assembly line. Aside from his Model A's and T's which seemed to change the nation, the assembly line is what made it all possible and what revolutionized the automobile industry. The Wright brothers saw flight, and a mere 63 years later, we landed on the moon. Steve Jobs saw the iPhone. Jeff Bezos saw online catalogue sales. Mark Zuckerberg saw the internet as a social-contact revolution.
TO THE MOON: When President John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech challenging the USA to step foot on the moon in less than a decade, he shared his vision with the country. He was able to create a fervor among citizens across the country and ignited a passion within the masses that ultimately led to achieving one of the greatest fetes in human history.
However, the tricky thing about finding a true visionary is that you can’t hire them. Too often, good managers or administrators or financial wizards are promoted to CEO. But that doesn’t necessarily make them a true leader. What is interesting, is that every other skill a leader needs can be learned with proper training: finance, management, investing, even communication skills. That said, there is no vision 101 class in school.
THE MAKING OF A VISIONARY. All that said, I am going to give you a few thoughts as to how to more fully develop a vision and become a true leader yourself. When I was in my early days of college, the chancellor was a visionary. He made me see things I had never thought of before. Not just facts, but of doing HUGE things. He challenged me to think about changing the world in which I lived. However, I worried that I did not have a well-developed vision of my own. That I was just hanging onto his coattails. And with that doubt he instilled in me the passion to hone my leadership skills and adjust my thinking to lead with a vision of great thing. Now, I have enormous vision, and that vision is what is driving me to build my legacy wealth dreams.