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Visioning in Leadership – The Coaching Room

Women in Leadership Series #2


What is visioning?

Visioning is imagining a future that does not yet exist.

Visioning mismatches the status quo and must be different to what already exists, otherwise it’s just more of the same. For example, if an airline has a ‘vision’ to be a safe airline either (i) it’s not currently a safe airline or (ii) the airline is currently safe and doesn’t have a vision.

Visioning gives direction that engages people through meaningfulness and intentionality. It awakens the capacity to engage, buy in and act upon that vision.

Visioning is a process, not a static thing (think movie versus snapshot).


Why is this important?

Companies get caught up in needing to make their first vision happen, which is crazy. Why?

As you move through a visioning process you learn, grow, get more information, more perspectives and therefore start to make different decisions. It’s an emergent process rather than an outcome, evolving as various elements develop and grow. To achieve an optimal outcome, a vision needs the flexibility to be refined and altered in response to its actual development.

Yet when you look at the average corporate they hold a vision as a static thing. Often when things don’t match the original vision or snapshot the blame game starts. You didn’t do this, you didn’t do that, that’s not good enough, that’s not what we agreed on. In terms of the outcome, there is now rigidity rather than being able to see what needs to shift, change or evolve.

And because of that rigidity we fail to inquire into how the unfolding process affects the outcome we had in mind. Has it changed it at all? Or does it reinforce it? It’s having those kind of conversations, which are emergent conversations that allow for the vision to manifest as a process in an optimal way.

When visioning, we need to hold intentions not expectations. They are quite different things.

Expectation is a belief that what I imagine in mind will happen, it has to happen… it’s a must.

Intention is understanding that what you’re creating in mind is merely a possibility. There is no certainty because we can’t accurately predict the future.


So if that’s the case, why have a vision?

Because it has the potential to create a myriad of outcomes. Visioning sets a direction, creates momentum, community, growth, and new possibilities, it fosters deeper meaning, longevity, increased resilience and profitability.

Visioning creates excitement about something that hasn’t happened before. It’s intentionally creating movement that mismatches the status quo enabling you, your team, your organisation to move to the edge of your comfort zone. It pushes boundaries and that’s where development occurs. If everyone is in their comfort zone you’re most likely managing, not visioning or leading.

Part of the process of visioning is being willing to make mistakes to learn and grow.

Many of us need to release ourselves from the conformity of the rules we learnt as children, rules about right and wrong, and good and bad. It’s called growing up.

Are you ready?

If you’d like to know more about the how of visioning read “How to Create an Effective Leadership Vision in 4 Steps”


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