Ancient Romans named the month of January for Janus, their god of gates, doors and beginnings. Always pictured with two faces – one looking toward the future, the other back at the past — Janus is a fitting symbol for the turning of a new year. As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it’s natural to do as Janus does: lookback and ahead. It is also predicted that 2020’s quitter day will be Sunday 19th January, the day most people will give up on their new year’s resolutions. In my opinion this is because they have not created a compelling enough vision of a future reality they want to aim for. So I’m inviting you this year, instead of just reflecting on the past year or making New Year’s resolutions to break, why not consider using this first part of the year to look beyond, beyond the horizon and create that compelling, heart thumping vision for the next decade for yourself and those you want to take with you. Whether it is a vision for your business, your leadership, your life, whatever it might be, you need to know what you really want to aim for, otherwise you just might end up somewhere else!
Why? Well from a business perspective this should go without saying: Leaders are only leaders if they are leading somewhere. Unfortunately, there are many people in positions of leadership who want people to passionately and fully devote themselves to their business and yet they themselves have no clear sense of where they are going or taking people. Sometimes, what’s missing is the ability to inspire a shared vision. This is a core leadership capability in today’s world. Kouzes & Posner, 2 academics turned business leaders conducted extensive research in this area by asking followers: what matters most in your leaders? The ability to inspire a shared vision was the number 1 attribute that most distinguishes leaders from non-leaders. And yet it continues to be the practise where leaders score least effectively, both according to themselves and their followers. You can take the concept of leadership into your own life too and have a vision for an integrated, flourishing and well-balanced life. After all you are the leader of your own life!
It’s not the notion of climbing some mountain and assuming the lotus position waiting for revelation then going and announcing or being a clairvoyant. Done well it’s how positive change occurs, people coming together united for a common cause and greater good. It generates energy, excitement and passion.
Done well everyone has a sense of where things are going and their part in it, smart choices are being made with the end in mind. Done well there is much to be gained
So how do we do it? According to Gainpiero Petriglieri and his wife, INSEAD professors who have done extensive work in this area they found 2 things to be present and essential for greatness in this area:
• Painting a vivid picture of a future day that is better than today
• Articulating a clear plan and show signs of progress no matter how small
Sounds simple right so how come it is not common practise? Well 2 key mistakes;
Some are getting on with it, but no one knows where they are headed but the number one reason for failure is, we are not dreaming of a future that is big, bold enough, audacious enough to excite and inspire
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo Buonarroti
The key is to take time to uncover, connect, communicate, execute and review your vision for business and life. Vision provides direction and helps your business prepare for the future, Vision provides guidance for decision-making, it shapes strategy, Vision guides the types of people you hire and promote. Vision defines what you will and what you will not do, in business and life. Vision helps set priorities and guides planning. Vision aligns people and activities. Vision provides purpose and a source of inspiration Vision reflects a person or business’ core values and beliefs. Vision empowers people and helps focus their efforts. Vision brings change and hope for the future.
Let’s start 2020 a different way. It takes effort to distil big ideas and hopes into a simple picture of the future but it’s worth the effort. Too often we say we’re too busy, but more likely to be busy in our business not on the business and other times that is simply an avoidance strategy. It is not easy to do. As a leadership coach, one of my passions is to partner with you through this and propel you to greatness, running thriving business and flourishing lives.