There’s a balance to be had between setting the business direction and interfering with progress.
How do I know?
Because I’ve witnessed ‘visionary’ leaders get carried away with their story, to the point where they become a liability to business growth.
The strength in being able to ‘sell the dream’ lies in the resulting enthusiasm shown by everyone in the business; each employee motivated to make a worthwhile contribution towards the wider goal.
As soon as a leader meddles in the delivery of that, progress stops. That means the leader is now sabotaging their personal success along with effective business performance.
I wonder if business leaders typically believe they must ring the changes constantly; as they react to fluctuating markets and shifts in customer expectations. Whilst flexibility is a core leadership attribute, there’s a world of difference between adapting processes to account for emerging requirements and deciding to switch direction.
In this respect great leaders are in fact boring; they bang on about the same things at every opportunity. Once they’ve decided on the vision – what’s important and why you’re all here – they empower you to do whatever it takes to execute that vision; and the story fuelling that remains consistent.
Sticking to the script can be a hard thing to do; particularly for those of us who are storytellers by nature. Bottom line – going off piste confuses people:
“I thought she said we were here to…”
“Why is she now asking us to do that…?”
“What’s the point again?”
Client feedback reinforces my belief that we all want to know where we stand; and that includes telling a consistent version of events. Do this and you’re providing your people with both clarity of direction and the confidence to deliver on the vision. Then you can relax and watch the whole thing come together; just as you imagined it!