If you want to lead you need a vision. Without a vision or a clear direction, you (and your team) are working hard while missing focus on the most important goals.

What Makes a Good Leader?

But is that it? Is having a strong vision enough in order to become an effective leader? This is what world-renowned psychologist and philosopher Jordan Peterson says about it:

“Generally speaking the most effective leaders are people who have a very clear vision of where they’re going, and why, and also are capable of delineating that vision into implementable strategies. You have to know where you’re going, but you also have to know exactly how you’re going to get there. In ways that are implementable and measurable. That’s the sort of thing that takes it out of the metaphysical cloud in some sense. It makes it very, very pinpoint!” 

Jordan Peterson teaching about leadership ...From Vision to Reality

How do you do to bring a vision into reality?

Your vision is the foundation for your road map towards execution. A vision also serves as a vehicle to inspire others to join you. It motivates action.

Define and Communicate a Compelling Vision

A vision is a picture of the future, of what you want your company to contribute to the greater good. For example, SpaceX has the vision to enable human life on Mars. Before that is achieved there will be many obstacles and challenges to overcome. The more compelling the vision, the more motivated the team members are to overcome difficult challenges and obstacles on the road.

Small business owners need a clear vision just as much as big corporations. The better you know your purpose, the easier it will be to create a vision. It’s the WHY behind your WHAT.

What is yours? What is the future that you envision with your business? How will you contribute to a better world?

Execute Leadership Vision Diagram

Source: crestcomleadership.com

Develop an Effective Strategy

Once you have your WHY, and you know WHAT  (products and services) it is that you offer to the world, you need to know HOW you are going to connect the two. An effective strategy is a way to go. It describes your business model in detail. An effective strategy includes but is not limited to:

  • Vision
  • Customer avatar: who is my ideal client?
  • Value proposition: which problems do they have?
  • Product proposition: how do your services solve their problems?
  • Marketing plan: how can we provide the most value through our content?
  • Financial plan: what is our 1-year financial goal and how does this translate into quarterly goals?
  • Operational plan: to which projects do we need to allocate time? When? How long?

From your strategy, you can then set clear 90 day goals. From there it is much easier to create week plans that are small steps towards the bigger vision.

Set Goals Properly

Goal setting is an art. Especially proper goal setting. What is the proper goal?

You want your goals to be in the proximal zone of development. This means goals that are big enough to be challenging, yet achievable. If your goals are unattainable, you will set yourself up for constant failure and that is not very motivating.

We learn the most when we stretch ourselves to the maximum of our capacities. We stay motivated if we experience progress. Set goals that stretch, but don’t overstretch. Stay within the zone of proximal development.

Source: Wikipedia

Want to read more about goal setting? Download our Handbook.

S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting, Planning & Strategy Handbook

Plans with Priorities

To know when, how much and how long to take action on your goals you need to estimate the time that it takes and put it in a schedule!

Don’t tell me you have neither a schedule nor a routine and just ‘live life in the flow’ all day. We are creatures of habit. Everyone has routines. How do you wake up in the morning? What’s the first thing you do? Do you brush your teeth every night before going to sleep?
Where is your overview? Where is your plan? What are the most important things you focus on this week?

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Fitzhugh Dodson

We recommend you to work with Quarterly Strategy Sessions (QSS). It’s based on the Why, How What philosophy by Simon Sinek.

  • Strategic = Why do we do what we do?
  • Tactical = How will we do that?
  • Operational = What is it that we do in order to achieve the how from the why we do it?

For each part define your:

  1. Must-haves – absolute necessities to reach our long term goals
  2. Should-haves – what we feel is very important
  3. Nice-to-haves – optional and a big bonus if it’s in place at the end of a period

Focus your priorities on the must-haves. Allocate time to focus on these as your highest priority. Then block time for should haves but with a lower priority. Eat your frog first; start your day with the most difficult task. This will free up the mental capacity to flow and be creative for the rest of the day.

Execute and Review Regularly

In order to improve and optimize, you need to look at the results of your strategy. Regular reflection is key. Am I heading in the right direction?

become effective leader

We recommend you to do a weekly review, a quarterly review, and an annual review. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I on track?
  2. What worked well?
  3. Is there something I should do more?
  4. And, what should I stop doing?

These reviews are most effectively done in reflection with others. Not with friends or family, but people who can deeply understand your business. And with people who don’t hold an emotional agenda.

A peer group (Mastermind) can help you tremendously in this process. You get to pitch your vision and receive feedback if it feels exciting and compelling. You discuss your strategy and receive multiple perspectives from other entrepreneurs.

The group helps you to set clear goals. They reflect back if your plan seems achievable in the time you have set for it. They also tell you if you are overstretching yourself, or if you could dream a bit bigger.

Finally, in a mastermind group, you install the necessary accountability to achieve your goals and eat your frogs first!

Conclusions

In order to lead, you need to have a compelling vision. But to truly lead effectively you also need to have implementable strategies.

The road there is as follows:

  1. Define a compelling vision
  2. Develop an effective strategy
  3. Set goals properly
  4. Create a plan with priorities
  5. Execute and review
  6. Optimize and adjust

What is your vision? How will you lead humanity to the next level with your business?

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