Three years ago, my wife and I went on a tour of the country of Israel. It was a very enjoyable and educational trip. And one factor was perhaps the main reason for our delightful trip – we had a wonderful tour guide.
Our tour guide…
- Knew each part of the tour intimately, and he talked about it with great energy.
- Enjoyed the journey so well, it was fun to hear him share stories and experiences about what we were seeing.
- Inspired us by his passion, and we fell more in love of the scenery and archeology because of him.
- Was great because of his love for the journey.
- Was right there on the tour with us when things did not go as planned.
- Had already been where he was taking us, and he was able to instruct because he was familiar with the journey.
- Spoke from a place of personal authority, and we listened.
- Was not perfect, but was quite credible.
From the time we started in the morning to when we made our evening stop at our hotel, he was constantly talking and interpreting what we were seeing.
Do you know the difference between a travel agent and a tour guide?
A travel agent…
- Tells you about all the places you could go to even though they may have never been there before.
- Provides you with intellectual information in brochures that describe the sights to see.
- Books your tickets.
- Smiles and tells you to have a nice trip, but they do not go with you.
Leaders are much like tour guides when it comes to set the organization’s future direction/vision in which they and their people will travel.
Their envisioned future is so vivid to them it is as though they have already taken the journey.
And they have come back to take their people up to the mountain top because they want the team to feel and experience the same victorious dream.
“A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.” – Leroy Eims
- Sees the whole trip in their mind before moving forward.
- Has a vision for getting to their destination.
- Understands what it will take to get there.
- Knows who they’ll need on the team to be successful.
- Recognizes the obstacles long before they appear.
Every leader can prepare to write a vision statement by taking three steps.
For many, many years prior to me selling my company in 2011, I was an avid student of trends inside my moving and storage industry and other industries outside mine.
This led to us to discover our vision statement, Revolutionizing the Way People Move.
“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.” – The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Ask – Where do you want to be?
Before you, as the leader, ask yourself “Where do we want to be?”, you must ask yourself…
- Where have we been?
- Where are we now?
Connect – MBWA
One of the best ways to connect with your people is to regularly do MBWA (Management By Walking Around).
MBWA is an unstructured manner of walking/wandering through the workplace to talk with employees or inquire about the status of ongoing work.
It should be done by you, as the leader, as well as your leadership team so both of you knows with certainty what your employees are thinking and what they recommend for quality improvements.
And just as important, you want to learn:
- What do your customers want to buy from you?
- How can/do your organization give your customers what they want?
Analyze – SWOT
A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to find your competitive advantage and to evaluate the…
Internal Factors (inside the organization)
- Strengths – Characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
- Weaknesses – Characteristics that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others.
External Factors (outside the organization)
- Opportunities – Elements that the project could exploit to its advantage.
- Threats – Elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.
External Factors may include macroeconomic matters, technological changes, legislation, and sociocultural changes, as well as changes in the marketplace (customers and suppliers) or in competitive position.
Does your organization have a vision statement? Do you have the passion and the faith that you will prevail in the end as you confront the most brutal facts of your current reality? Please share your comments <here> and share this blog post with a friend or co-worker.