Thursday, March 26, 2009

Courage: Vision Integration Depends on It

Courage! This is where a vision can become severely diluted or even stopped in its tracks. It will be required; every leader gets challenged at some point, if not many points. Their response determines whether the vision moves forward or not -- whether it becomes diluted or maintains its full integrity.

I would be remiss if I didn’t place extra emphasis on the realities and less-heroic aspects of visionary leadership. We often read about the fait-acompli, looking back at how everything just fell into place. But from my privileged seat, as a leadership coach, as well as being on my own journey, I assure you it doesn’t go like that. It often times has as much to do with a solid gut-check as a solid strategy and brilliant foresight.

In all the leadership books I’ve read and all the text books we covered in my MBA program, I cannot recall a single chapter on this crucial piece of vision integration. For those leaders who are willing, able and supported enough to get through these challenges that test the limits of courage, the vision moves forward; for those who fear it too much and look for easier ways through, the vision weakens, stalls or dies.

To this end, of course, leadership or executive coaching can be a great benefit, allowing the leader to reflect, challenge, and be supported with integrity to their values and adherence to their vision. This may sound personal, but it is purely professional—and strategic. If the leader can endure the doubts, fears, and emotions that are certain to accompany the implementation of a vision, then the business objectives embedded in that vision can play out; if the leader cannot work through these, it becomes a diluted vision, or another path altogether, that does not hold the strategic benefits of a powerful, inspired, unified vision.


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