leadership models (II) – have a vision

the business leadership book of John P. Kotter called Leading Change inspired me especially on how to organize a group and in many other ways. but the most intriguing and original ideas for me were the ones the author wrote about leaders and ways to lead. he writes a comparison example that helps to understand the difference between a usual and a great leader. here is our case: three different groups of 10 people each are having picnic. suddenly a rainstorm is coming. so here it is how the three different leaders of the groups react.

(1) in the first group the leader says something like: get up and follow me! we need to get under cover – and expects everyone to do that. no explanation, no reasons to interpret. he uses only the authority.

(2) second group, the leader says: okay here is the plan. we will take up carefully everything we used for the picnic, everyone it’s own belongings first, than we shall help others, and after that we will try to reach a safer point, and from there we can actually see new possibilities in order to… and the whole group got wet already!

(3) the leader of the third group acts as following: it’s going to rain in a few minutes. why don’t we go under that huge apple tree. we’ll stay dry and we can eat some apples for dessert.

they say, the last leader is the best. because he has a vision. it’s not only that the group does what is necessarily to do, but also gets a reward, gets a further motivation. gets a vision. and a vision is always giving a new direction for the people, it’s easily imaginable and desirable and can be easily explained.

with the help of the book and mainly thanks to this story, i realized the importance of having a further plan, something that won’t keep me busy only for a few months, but will keep me incorporated in my everyday life.

don’t get me wrong. i’m not talking about long term plans, wishes or dreams. i’m talking about a vision.

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i have the feeling that burnout strikes in when people stop being visionaries. they might have some plans, things they want to achieve, cases they want to fight for, places they would like to visit, tasks that are engaged with, but these are things everyone can easily have -voluntarily or in a vegetative way-

having a vision means to be flowing. to be persistent. having a vision is not the type of lifestyle when you ask yourself who you want to be in 10 years and where do you imagine yourself being in 20 years. having a vision means to have a comprehensive view of your whole life, aims, dreams, spirituality, status.
having a vision means to have a panoramic view of your life.

i’m not talking about general dreams. i’m talking about visions.

mind the gap

there’s a big chance that you are -like me- a little more pragmatical person. dozens of theoretical books to read for exams, personal development and in order to make it as a professional. at least that’s what the certificate states.

i for myself enjoy to learn from the books professors recommend as compulsory. but sometimes i have the feeling it’s not enough for a proper preparation. many university courses are not a “how-to” or don’t inspire sufficiently. there is a big gap between theory and practice, theory and inspirational learning. if the educational system is not fairly practical, we might find ourselves in the situation of not knowing what to do with the thousands of pages we read.

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so let’s try to mind the gap. mind the gap – originally used to warn passengers getting on the train/bus/metro – has also the meaning to deal with the void. in our case the void between uninspiring theory and practical ability.

here’s what i propose in order to mind the gap:
during studies or already being in practice search for people in you profession that inspire you. if it’s possible meet and ask for advice – until here nothing new or complicated. but an old roadster can surely recommend some good books to read for your profession. and i’m sure, that one who is in the profession for many years, won’t suggest you books that are packed with boring or ununderstandable theory. instead, they will give you titles that will inspire and grow you wings.

i ask every pastor, psychologist, theologian and people who work in a helping profession to give me their top 5 list of books that could inspire me as a further professional. i collect the lists and after 15-20 lists i compare the lists and choose the books with the most occurrences and add them on my to-read list.

this is one practical way i try to mind the gap.

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