Vision Block: 5 Barriers to Crafting a Compelling Vision

Unlike Mission, Vision is “seeing” language. But sometimes we cannot…or will not see. Something blurs or blocks our vision. More than ever in recent history we need leaders with a clear vision. Leaders to guide us forward. What stands in the way of having a clear, compelling vision?

1) INSECURITY “I am not a good vision caster – it is just not my area of expertise!”

Some leaders mistakenly believe that vision casting means rah-rah cheerleading and “let’s take the hill!” rally cries. But deep, empowering visions begin in the heart long before emerging from the mouth. It is not about expertise, it’s about enthusiasm. Ask yourself: What do I really believe? Where do we want to be that will make a real difference in our team, for the customer, the ministry, the client? Get that in your gut.

2) EGO “I have to create this vision alone so I can be in control.”

For some leaders, collaboration is the enemy. It is just plain easier to do it yourself. After all, you are the leader, you’re the one the whole organization depends on! Without you, it all comes crashing down. Or so you think.

At first, you feel powerful, but soon you are alone shouting, “Follow my Vision!” But all you hear is a hollow echo in reply. When vision emerges from several contributors, ownership rises, clarity increased and the full burden of leadership is shared.

3) INADEQUACY “Who am I to be crafting a vision?”

The opposite of an ego-driven vision is believing you are vision deficient. After all, you’re an “average” leader so you’ll have a weak vision.  The truth is you have more influence than you give yourself credit for; at work, home, and in the community. And you have a life people can really see – one that can embody the vision, not verbalize it. People will follow your life even when your vision isn’t as powerful as you’d like.

Instead of super-leaders, we need more real leaders. And all real leaders are humble enough to know they are never fully adequate for the job.

4) REJECTION “What if people do not buy into the vision?”  

How we process rejection is the test of every leader. Some of us will ignore our mistakes, blame others, live in self-pity, or beat ourselves up.

Let’s get clear – Almost every time people will NOT buy first. That’s why they need a determined leader with a heartfelt vision! Second, rejection is the crucible for growth, learning, and humility. Every leader needs a good dose of it. And third, remember it takes shared ownership of the vision and creativity in communication. Use a variety of methods: props, stories, experiences, video, print, and art.

5) WEARINESS “Working together to frame a vision takes lots of time!”

After hours of “brainstorming” a group of young leaders were stuck seeing a vision. So I asked them to stop because we needed some “heart-storming” instead. “Focus on your spouse or a close friend. What about them makes you smile? What do see in them that stirs you when you hear their name? Write it down using feeling words and seeing words.”

“Now, think about your team’s vision the same way – why are you doing this? What gets you excited? What will the future look like when this dream becomes a reality? Describe what you see…keep at it…keep looking!” Suddenly the conversation exploded with passion and energy.

It took some time and energy, breaking through the hard surface to deeper places. The hard work paid off. They had come dangerously close to quitting; which meant they were equally close to success. They did not understand that first, we had to spend hours sifting through the chaos. Had we stopped early we might have settled for a “lesser” vision rather than the greater one.

Question: As you look at the factors above, what stands in the way of framing your vision? What may be causing Vision Block?

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