Become a Vision-Driven Leader
Michael Hyatt is the founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and the bestselling author of several books. His latest book, The Vision Driven Leader is his best yet. It offers tools to create a compelling vision and rally a team around that vision. (*See the special offer for our subscribers with over $600 of free bonuses for ordering now.)
I’ve known my friend Michael Hyatt for years, have interviewed him before, and have written for his blog several times. It’s always a pleasure to sit down for a conversation with him, and this week on “Aim Higher” is no exception. (Normally we don’t have a recording of our conversations, but we probably should!)
Michael really differentiates between the idea of “having a vision” as a kind of nebulous, nice-sounding concept vs. a useful, real-world tool for guiding your organization. As a fellow fan of practical guidance and advice, I very much appreciated his thoughts on this topic, and I think you will, too.
One phrase from my chat with Michael Hyatt on this week’s episode of “Aim Higher” really stood out to me. He said that having a vision provides “a filter that differentiates opportunities from distractions.”
“A clear vision helps you discern between opportunities and distractions.” -Michael Hyatt
That’s kind of startling in its simplicity, isn’t it? I mean, how do we tell the difference? He talked about the time he was head of a publishing division. They’d had real success with a certain kind of book and then tried too hard to replicate it with other genres. Those were distractions, and it didn’t work out well. But we also discussed another role of his in which he took his division to the top and kept it there for years. What made the difference?
The difference was a clear, practical vision.
“A vision is a clear, inspiring, practical, attractive picture of your organization’s future.” -Michael Hyatt
From reading many leadership books, I know—as you probably do, too—that many leadership experts talk about “vision statements.” Michael believes, as do I, that creating a practical, useful vision for your organization needs to go much further than a statement. Michael talks about a “vision script,” and defines this tool as a, “clear, inspiring, practical, attractive picture of your organization’s future.”
“Visionary leaders respect the language of possibility.” – Michael Hyatt
4 Components of a Vision
Michael says this script needs to address four crucial areas:
- It has to be meaningful to your team. The people responsible for executing your vision need to understand it and have a stake in it.
- It has to include your product. What are you actually delivering outside your organization?
- It has to address marketing. How will you be communicating and delivering this vision?
- It has to define your desired impact. What are the metrics you want to hit?
Those are all very practical questions. If you can create that kind of vision script, you’ll have a document that’s quite a bit longer than a “statement,” but a lot shorter than a business plan. It will be something that your staff should be able to understand and see themselves reflected inside. It should drive conversations and—as promised—help you understand whether a new activity is an opportunity or a distraction.
“Those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -John F. Kennedy
Michael’s new book The Vision Driven Leader: 10 Questions to Focus Your Efforts, Energize Your Team, and Scale Your Business is now available for you to order, and I highly recommend it for leaders at every level in an organization.
Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.
A Must-Listen Lightning Round
Michael and I wrap up with some rapid-fire questions from me about marriage, leadership and being a CEO. As always, he’s one of the quickest-thinking, most engaging leaders I know. I think you’ll enjoy our talk as much as I did.
This is a must-listen episode of Aim Higher. You will hear Michael and me discuss:
- The elements of a compelling vision
- Why vision is not just for the CEO
- How to create a vision script
- How to sell a vision
- What Michael learned about a failed business
- Characteristics of a vision culture
- How to deal with detractors
- After we talk about vision and leadership, I shift into a lightning round of questions that I think will make you think:
- The secret to a 40+ year marriage
- The biggest mistake hiring managers make
- Advice to your younger self
- Most people don’t realize leadership ___
- The biggest misconception about the CEO role
- The biggest surprise in launching an entrepreneurial venture
- The best planner on the market
- The best morning productivity hack
“Culture is the unseen force that drives operating results.” -Michael Hyatt
“Vision attracts the right people and repels the wrong people.” – Michael Hyatt
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
“You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there, and go forward into the future.” -Bob Dylan
For more information, see The Vision Driven Leader: 10 Questions to Focus Your Efforts, Energize Your Team, and Scale Your Business.
Photo Credit: John Towner