This is a continuation of a Post from earlier this week. Please read that first before reading what follows.
2) They Say It Convincingly
Once the leader knows exactly where he is headed, the next essential is to be able to communicate it convincingly to those whom he would like to have along on the journey. There are a variety of ways this can be done; but it must be done, or he will be making the trip by himself.
The late Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, was trying very hard–but with little success–to recruit John Sculley to the vision that he clearly saw. Jobs was exasperated and, in his frustration, he asked one more question–the one that finally caused John Sculley to make one of the most talked about corporate moves in modern American business. He asked,
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?“
Sculley said it was as if someone reached up and delivered a stiff blow to his stomach. The question simply eroded all his resistance and it made him think like a dreamer or a visionary. He subsequently left Pepsi Cola and joined Apple “After all,” Sculley mused, “changing the world is a heady thought.“
In a few words Jobs had said it convincingly. He had conveyed his vision, the essence of his dream in words that Sculley understood: to have a part in changing the world. In order to recruit and keep motivated followers, a vision must be convincingly and constantly communicated in a myriad of ways. One of the key roles of the effective leader is to manage the dream of the organization and to keep that dream alive through verbalization, symbols and visuals.
3) They Show It Consistently
Once you have your vision clearly in your mind and heart and you’re communicating it convincingly to your followers so that they understand what you see, the final step is to walk your talk. If you don’t demonstrate that you think it’s important by modeling it in your life, why should the people you lead think it’s important? It’s a matter of putting flesh on your vision. Here is where integrity of life comes in.
By God’s grace, we need to practice what we preach…walk the talk, so you don’t have to tell people what your mother perhaps used to say to you, “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say.” Let’s face it, leaders, talking it but not walking it won’t work over the long haul. People who follow us will do as we do, not as we say. And when they get tired of doing what we are not doing, we will be walking alone!
Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 4:17, “Timothy will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” That’s it…being a living epistle of your dream. To hear it from my lips is one thing, but to see it in my life is quite another.
Successful leaders consistently model their vision, realizing that more is caught than taught. When John Wesley was asked why people seemed to be drawn to him, he answered: “Well, you see, when you set yourself on fire, people just love to come and watch you burn.” Let your life burn, in living color, with your dream. It’s a careful blending of communicating it with my lips and living it with my life.
+What is a leader? He is a person who clearly sees the vision, communicates that vision convincingly and models it consistently through his life.