Steve Jobs had it. Bill Gates did, too. Their successors? Not so much.
Don’t get me wrong — Apple and Microsoft may still be successful. It’s just that they’ll never be the same companies that they set out to be.
These days, they’re operating based solely on sound business practices, rather than rallying around a unified, inspiring vision that made them the undisputed leaders in their field.
Same scenario in government: In 2008, Barack Obama had it in droves. This year? Both he and Mitt Romney have played it safe — relying on tried & true tactics rather than a bold vision to rally around. Thus, there’s been no clear leader in the race to date.
And remember good ol’ George H.W. Bush? After serving as Vice President to Reagan — an unequaled storyteller with a clear, compelling vision — he sought to continue the same successful policies for another eight years. Yet, he only served one term.
Bush 41 had an incredible resume — on paper, there was perhaps no one more qualified in recent history than he to serve as president. As he focused on the comfortable role of handling issues one-by-one and in the here-and-now, his advisors urged him to speak to broader themes. He referred to it as “that vision thing,” and didn’t see it as important as solving problems and letting his record speak for itself.
It cost him the election — voters instead rallied around a new candidate who urged them to “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.” (And Clinton went on to serve two terms, with unparalleled popularity even today).
Vision is what every successful leader and company thrives on, yet one of the hardest things to truly communicate and achieve. In fact, it’s the most critical long-term success factor and challenge you’ll face.
You can get by for a while without it. But you won’t lead your industry. Or make as much profit as your competitor. Or retain the best talent.
And unless you also weave it into a compelling story and get good at telling it, you’re likely to face the same fate.” via About That Vision Thing….
Takeaway? Find yours — vision, that is — and pursue it while you still can…