The 3 Sights of Vision - David DeWolf

The 3 Sights of Vision

Study after study has shown that one of the most essential traits of any leader is the ability to cast a vision. Not only does it inspire others to follow, it points them in the right direction.

A clear vision is at the center of any high performing team and is the basis for strategy. Without vision, the people perish.

When crafting a vision, consider the following sights.

Foresight What does the future hold for the industry?

In the early days of personal computing, Microsoft’s sole goal was to put “a computer in every home”. They clearly envisioned a world where personal computing technology became ubiquitous.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates dared to dream. He envisioned what life might be like if everyone had a computer at their finger tips. He envisioned moms looking up a new recipes, students doing their homework and professionals exchanging digital documents that included spreadsheets and presentation materials. He could describe a world that had been reinvented by the personal computer.

Foresight provides a glimpse into the future. It requires imagination and creativity and is born out of a broad understanding of industry trends. It helps the entrepreneurial leader to paint a picture of what can and will be.

Insight What about our organization will help shape the industry?

Apple has always envisioned a world where users love using technology. In fact, they have painted a picture of technology getting out of the way to the greatest degree possible.

Apple founder Steve Jobs fought the status quo. He painted a picture where technology was simple to use and intuitive. He imagined a world without instruction manuals, where small children could use technology by simply picking it up. He realized that Apple’s creative core was significantly different than their engineering oriented competitors and he saw how Apple could push the industry to be more aesthetically pleasing by leveraging this asset to it’s fullest potential.

Insight provides a glimpse into how our organization will participate in the future of the industry. It is born out of a deep knowledge of an organization’s assets and how they can be leveraged to bring about the foresight. It helps the entrepreneurial leader paint a picture of why we are relevant and how we will participate.

Cross Sight How do the unique assets that we have integrate with each other and the rest of the ecosystem?

Uber has reimagined the way people would move throughout the world. They clearly see a world where our mobile phones become the hub of transportation and are used to create a more enjoyable experience.

Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick crafted a bold outlook. He saw on-demand and reliable pickups. He imagined cashless transactions. He integrated this vision into an already thriving ecosystem. Herealized that the ecosystem he developed was valuable to others and he wove his vision into an underutilized portion of the transportation industry (Black Cars).

Cross sight provides a glimpse into the ecosystem. It is born out of a deep understanding of your own differentiated assets and a broad understanding of the industry. It helps the entrepreneurial to paint the picture of how the vision will interact with the rest of the world.

Vision evolves – it becomes more clear, if you will – over time. As an industry changes, so does the reality of the future. As an organization matures, additional assets can be leveraged for ultimate impact. As an industry evolves, additional integration points may arise. But, as the vision evolves, it continues to pull a company. It is the magnetic force that pulls us.

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Episode #003: The Power of Vulnerability [Podcast]

This week, we discuss the power of vulnerability, whether it’s in the office or your daughter’s bedroom. I’m joined by cohost Mike Manion, Area President of Convene’s Mid-Atlantic region and a frequent host on various radio shows and podcasts.

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I share the story of how I learned about how powerful vulnerability is…the hard way.

Steps for you to tap into the power of vulnerability:

Admit your mistakes. Be transparent with your thoughts and feelings with others. Encourage  and help others share in that same vulnerability.

Vulnerability is a leadership tool that we’re afraid of. It’s so powerful, because it’s human and real and authentic. By being vulnerable, you demonstrate trust. You show that you’re in it for the mission, as opposed to for yourself.

When we’re real and authentic, we’re able to motivate and lead much more powerfully. It has taken me a long time to learn how to really embrace the power of vulnerability and use it consistently.

Your challenge: be vulnerable this week.

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Question Your Leaders and Dive in - David DeWolf

Question Your Leaders: Why It’s Better to Dive in than Walk Away

A couple of weeks ago I found myself perplexed. A leader that I have profound respect for – and consider a mentor – had approached me about doing business together. This is someone I look up to and would have loved to work with. Of course I couldn’t wait to say yes.

As our conversations continued, I was put off by a couple of details associated with the deal. I couldn’t understand why this person would conduct business this way. Something wasn’t adding up.

Luckily, I’ve been in this position before and have learned the hard way not to leave my questions unresolved. Ignore the “gut feeling” and you risk everything from being duped to ignoring a simple warning sign that motivations are misaligned. Both can end in disaster and destroy a relationship, regardless of how much you trust the person you’re doing business with. On the other hand, simply walking away might be safe but prevent you from a unique opportunity.

So, I dove in. I had the hard conversation. I asked about my concerns and expressed my fears. I spoke to a mutual friend that had entered into a similar arrangement and he helped me understand the reasons why these details made sense, at least for this leader and in this situation. There was information that I didn’t understand.

Only time will tell whether I fully embrace the approach. I’m not convinced that it isn’t extreme. That said, I understand its purpose and am open to the reality that I just might learn something from someone who knows more than I do. Regardless, I’m not able to move forward, with peace of mind, with an opportunity that has the potential to be monumental.

How often do you question your leaders? Do you dive in to understand, or do you simply walk away or risk getting burned?

The reality is this: Leaders often have more context and information than you do. Seek to understand before making a judgement. Leaders don’t expect you to follow blindly. Seek the clarifications you need to be to be comfortable. Leaders are human. They make honest mistakes. Strive to be transparent about your hesitations, perhaps they are wrong. To get ahead, you have to take smart risks. Don’t risk getting burned, risk the hard conversation. Learn My Secret to Living an Integrated Life Get it Now Join the Discussion

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What's the Most Important of All Leadership Traits - David DeWolf

What’s the Most Important of All Leadership Traits?

Last week, I was talking to an executive. We were brainstorming and trying to figure out why it was that, of all the leaders we were talking about, none of them seemed to have any sort of formal training or coaching. None of them had gone through a leadership development program. Yet they seemed to be some of the best and strongest leaders that we knew.

What was it that made them different?

We finally stumbled across it. We were convinced it wasn’t the question of nature vs. nurture. There had to be something about these people that made them different.

Sure enough, we started with the fact that leaders are readers. Its almost cliche. It’s embarrassing how often people say that. But do we really understand why it is? Heres what we discovered as we talked more.

Leaders want to soak up information. Leadership comes from digesting information. Learning more. Soaking up information so that you can connect the dots and notice the trends. Put this information into action.

All of the leaders we were talking about weren’t just readers, they were connected to other individuals. They were naturally curious. They asked tons of questions. They were in the market. They were connecting with other leaders. They were exposing themselves to lots and lots and lots of feedback of information. Of new ideas. Ideas from different industries. Ideas from different leaders. Ideas from people throughout the entire world.

Yes, they were reading but that was actually only one channel of information. What they were doing above all else was seeking out information.

Leaders thrive off of more information. Leaders are tasked with changing the status quo and putting new things in motion. They do this by taking information and applying it to their situation.

Leaders are hungry for more. That was the common denominator. It was these naturally curious, naturally exploring individuals who couldn’t help but put what they were learning into motion.

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How Do You Communicate "Core Values"? - David DeWolf

How Do You Communicate “Core Values”?

How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”?

The way you communicate values to an organization must be intentional. It must be deliberate, but, more importantly, it must be based on action, not words. There are two primary ways to communicate values and to spread them within your organization.

The first is to lead by example. If you don’t live your values, if those closest to you don’t live your values, then they’re not your values. Values are all about valuing it regardless of the impact, regardless of the situation.

Nobody expects you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be genuine. You must live your values, and when you don’t you must admit it. You must acknowledge that you failed. You must share and ask for forgiveness from the organization.

The second way to communicate and to live your values is to reward and recognize based off of values. A lot of people rewarded and recognized based on getting things done, on a phenomenal effort, or on a brilliant idea. This is great. But it should not create a shadow over the values of the organization.

Do you recognize those people that live your values? That show them and demonstrate them consistently? Lift those people up! Put them on a pedestal as an example for others to see. Recognize them publicly. Reward them and thank them for what they are doing.

By clearly living your values and holding up others as examples who live your values. Your values will spread like wildfire throughout your organization.

Question: How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn My Secret to Living an Integrated Life Get it Now Join the Discussion

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Taking Joy in Someone Else's Success - David DeWolf

Taking Joy in Someone Else’s Success

If you knew José, you would have been WOWed. José was one of my best employees! Brilliant. Creative. His skills were impeccable. He was consultative and polished. Clients loved to work with José.

Not only that, but José showed leadership ability. He was able to inspire others. He was able to paint a vision and get others excited and motivated around it. He was a little bit unpolished in his leadership techniques but he was rapidly learning them.

José also had vision. Lots of ideas! Tons of Ideas! The passion and commitment to make sure he pursued them.

Unfortunately, some of these ideas simply weren’t in alignment with our company. And while several of them were, it was obvious that José’s passion was pursuing these other ideas. He wouldn’t stop at anything before they were accomplished. It began to create a disturbance within the organization. In a couple of instances, instructions would be ignored as he passionately and almost blindly pursued these ideas.

I went to José, and after several months of trying to reign him back in, had a blunt conversation. “José, I think you need to be an entrepreneur. It’s time to leave. You can have the time you need. Let’s figure out a plan. Let’s transition. Let me help you start a business.”

And that’s exactly what he did. José is an incredibly successful entrepreneur. He’s built a fabulous company, one that I am super proud of.

I don’t talk with him much, almost never, but I stand back and admire what he’s done. And frankly, it’s one of my most proud moments.

In business, it’s easy to want to keep everything for yourself, to want to protect your talent. In the grand scheme of things, I helped the organization by getting rid of a distraction, while helping an employee at the same time become a successful entrepreneur who is totally fulfilled by pursuing his passion.

There are often times when employees or others I know will ask what I think about José’s success. Its almost tongue-in-cheek where people are expecting me to be sad or disappointed, upset that José is no longer with us. Quite frankly, many people don’t have a clue that I was the one who encouraged him to leave. They just see it as a failure on my part to retain talent. I smile and I share how proud I am of him.

It’s not disappointing to me that somebody else is successful. I take great pride in the fact that this individual was able to hopefully learn a few things while with us and that I was able to give him that little nudge and that little runway to to start a successful business of his own.

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