Inspire a Shared Vision

Imagine a clear eyed, motivated leader traveling down a path towards a better future. Fueled by certainty they move swiftly, taking long strides and feeling more confident with each step, until eventually, they turn around and realize no one is there.

Vision is essential to leadership. Leaders need a clear picture of the future they hope to create. But what happens when a leader has a vision and can’t get others to share in it?

A leader without followers is just a person taking a walk.

Envision and Elicit

According to Kouzes and Posner, the authors of The Leadership Challenge:

“Leaders who Inspire a Shared Vision passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.”

Leaders are thirsty for a better future. Their vision emanates from a desire to make the world a better place. A vision, at its core, is a dream. A dream of a stronger community, a more effective workplace, or a better family.  When we clearly envision the future, we can describe it in rich detail. In fact, we can’t help but talk about our vision. Eventually we are inhabited by it. A true vision fuels the best parts of our soul and stirs us to action.

But a great vision can’t just stir us, we have to enlist others to the cause.

We must inspire a shared vision. Nothing is accomplished alone. No matter how great it is, without others, a vision is simply an unrealized dream. And while dreams are nice, change requires action. We have to create space for others; we have to listen; we have to truly share our vision if we ever want it to be a reality.

Let’s Create a Shared Vision

Imagine a community of people interested in creating a shared vision. What would happen if we tackled problems together, rather than wait for unsatisfying solutions to be forced upon us?

What would happen if we all learned to Inspire a Shared Vision?

Click here to learn more about how you can Inspire a Shared Vision.

Inspire a Shared Vision, along with Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, Challenge the Process and Encourage the Heart are the Five Exemplary Practices first outlined by Kouzes and Posner over 30 years ago in their landmark book “The Leadership Challenge.”

Shafer Leadership Academy will offer a one day Leadership Challenge course on Tuesday, September 18th at the Innovation Connector.

Scholarships are available.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »