Have you ever read Pat Williams book Leadership Excellence? If not, I highly recommend it. He shares the Seven Sides of Leadership which are:
- People Skills
- Serving Heart
Pat’s book has made a huge impact on the way I lead my team. Since reading the book the first time, I have seen improvements across the board.
Let’s start from the beginning…
Leadership is all about the future, so all true leadership begins with vision.
Men and women of vision are people who have trained themselves to look over the horizon, to see what doesn’t yet exist, to see things others can’t see. Visionary leaders see earlier than others, farther than others, and more than others. Then they assemble teams of followers who catch that vision and hammer those dreams into reality.
A visionary leader can take a look at a plot of bare land and see a building already built. A visionary leader can look at an empty street and envision a victory parade. A leader starts with a vision and then works backwards from that vision, figuring out each step it will take to turn that vision into a reality.
Vision has always been a prime ingredient of leadership excellence, and it always will be. General Colin Powell put it this way: “I don’t know that leadership in the twenty-first century will be essentially different from the leadership shown by Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and their colleagues two hundred years ago. Leadership will always require people who have a vision of where they wish to take ‘the led’. Leadership will always require people who are able to organize the effort of others to accomplish the objectives that flow from the vision.”
Sam Walton is a prime example of one of the world’s greatest visionaries in retail. In the 1950’s Sam bought a two-passenger plane to fly around the country to scout locations for new discount stores. Sam later wrote in his autobiography, Made in America: “From up in the air we could check out traffic flows, see which way cities and towns were growing, and evaluate the competition – if there was any. I’d get low, turn my plane on its side, and fly right over a town … Until we had 500 stores, or at least 400, I kept up with every real estate deal and got to view most locations (from the air) before we signed any kind of commitment.”
The vision principle of leadership is exactly the same today as it was in the ancient world. No matter what empire you wish to build, you must begin with a vision.