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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #176: Your Vision Checkup

February 24, 2022
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #176: Your Vision Checkup

Leaders see more than others see, and they see it before others see. Today Perry and Chris talk about developing and communicating a vision that helps focus your team for success.

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Read the Transcript:

Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley at John Maxwell, facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, vice president with John Maxwell Company. Welcome, and thank you for joining us once again. We are super excited that you’re back and listening. We want to encourage you. This is something that we do on a weekly basis. Our team releases them out, and our goal is just to add value to you. These are topics that Perry and some of our other executive facilitators and coaches are dealing with on a living day to day basis. Matter of fact, Perry was on a red eye, which I’m proud of you for jumping on a red eye, coming back, speaking to a company last night. I was on some coaching calls this morning, now in the studio, just taking what we’re hearing and we’re learning and passing it on. So hopefully this is something that can add value to you and or your team and the leadership journey you guys might be on.

If you want to pose a question, maybe you have a leadership situation, you want us to unpack and talk about on our podcast, we’d love to do that. You want to learn more about the content that we develop in organizations for them personally, customized, please go to You can fill out a form there and we will follow back up with you for doing that. Well, today’s topic is titled Your Vision Checkup. We’re not too far into the year. What are we thinking about?

Perry Holley:    Yeah, it’s a great time to be … most companies are having their corporate meetings. That’s where I’m getting to travel and speak to a lot of corporate meetings this month. Then I noticed when I’m sitting in waiting for my turn on stage, the leaders are talking about the vision, the mission, the values, the core focus, those types of things. But we talk a lot about increasing engagement and buy-in from people on the team. And I find that one of the clear ways to do that is to be very clear on where we’re going. What is the vision for the organization? What does the future look like? And if the people on your team are inspired that they’re going where you’re going, that they know where we’re going and we’re inspired to go there, they’re going to be much more likely to increase their engagement and the drive to help you do it.

So I’m often surprised on coaching calls that a leader doesn’t have a clear vision of what tomorrow looks like in the business. There’s a few times, I don’t think they think it has that much value, that we’re just trying to get through. We have a vision for this year and generally that comes down in numbers, this is what we’re trying to accomplish this year, but I don’t think they have a bigger picture of what is looking at 3, 5, 8 years out.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    So what are your thoughts on that?

Chris Goede:     The north star, right? Where are we going? Where are we headed? And I think you’re right on. I think leaders … it is what have you done for me lately? And being in sales background that you spent so many years training and developing it’s, Hey, it’s a new month, that first of the month. They do not care about what happened the last month. And so what ends up happening, I think as leaders is we get in this rut of just being in it and not necessarily thinking on the business end of it and developing that vision statement. We just get into the day to day and we’re executing the strategy and we’re trying to hit the metrics, whatever your metrics may be for your department. And we’re like, well, we’ll get to that. We’ll get to that vision. And then we end up not because one month then leads to the other and we’re going at it. And John teaches without vision, people in a leadership position perish. You not only lose your people, you lose the person who is in a leadership position, you lose it all.

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     And so I think if you’re leading and you have a team, no matter the size of the team, I want to challenge you to stop and really take in some of the things we’re going to talk about today and develop a vision for your team, for your organization, because we don’t want you to lose the opportunity to lead, and that’s what it can lead to.

Perry Holley:    Well, I’ve put together some ideas here as I’ve been reading and saying about how good am I at setting a vision even for myself? What is it I’m trying to accomplish? But when I think about it, it comes down to the difference between leading and managing and that I think we get so consumed with the day to day, we think about, I’m just managing the process of managing my calendar, managing the projects that are going on is the really ensuring that the program objectives and the organization, they’re implemented and everything’s met. Leadership, on the other hand, has a lot to do with casting division and motivating the people. So you lead people, you manage the process, leaders create the vision, managers then execute the vision.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Leaders focus on the horizon, managers focus on the goals and objectives that lead to that horizon.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    And it’s really a difference. Am I truly leading or am I just really a great manager?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    That’s what I’m doing.

Chris Goede:     I think that it’s a great point and a great conversation around this. And I think, leaders, we need to make sure that as Perry’s talking about, we create this vision. One of the things that we’re doing is we’re creating by doing this a larger role that people want to be a part of. I think even in the generations that are coming up right now through the workforce, I mean, they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and they want to understand it. Now, the key is, is that when you create that vision, make sure you’re able to tie their roles and responsibility to how it impacts that vision. That’s key. That’s another conversation, but I want to say that, because it comes to mind as you begin thinking about what this vision looks like.

And then your team will want to engage in something that requires their best effort and it’s bigger than themselves. Being a believer, oftentimes, we have, but God moments, right? And I would challenge you as leaders to set a vision to where it’s bigger than something that any of the individuals could attain by themselves, but it’s only but because of the team.

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Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     Right, that they’re able to do that together. And I think if you create an inspiring vision that you’re going to have really, really high engagement levels with your team, which we know from some past studies and reading and episodes, we’ve got to increase our engagement level with our team.

Perry Holley:    I was still thinking, as you’re saying, you got me thinking about the next generations, the younger generations coming up, how the purpose has become a big thing. And I recall our friend, Jeff Henderson, making a little statement that really stuck with me, and maybe this is the idea of we’re trying to be the best company in the world. That would be just this year, the numbers, trying to grow our impact. But he said, what if you want to become the best company for the world? I’m thinking, that’s really a long term, big picture. And what younger people can get behind is what are we doing for the world? Why do we matter? What are we trying to accomplish? And it’s not just a bunch of numbers .

Chris Goede:     That’s right. That’s right.

Perry Holley:    The benefits I thought were interesting about why do you want to have a clear vision and why it’s so important to you? Some great reading on this. Michael Hyatt, somebody we follow and read a lot of Michael’s content, is some great stuff on the vision driven leader. And I love how he paints the picture of why you want to have a vision is it keeps you open. If you know where you see you’re going, what the future looks like, you very much then become attuned. You listen to and you catch possibilities that will align with that. If I’m thinking about that without five years, and I see something happening now, I go, whoa.

Chris Goede:     It becomes your filter.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Yeah. Yu see how that fits in. That’s why I love that. Without that filter of that vision, then those opportunities just go right by the board. Having a clear vision can also separate good things from great things, which I of this one that I brought out, that there’s no lack of good things I could be doing, but if I have a clear vision where I’m going five or 10 years down the road, all of a sudden, I say, well, that’s not going to really help to get there. The third thing he mentioned was that vision provides direction for the execution. That without it, the people can find themselves doing things that don’t really matter. So we always talk about, we’re really busy, but busy doing what? Am I doing the right thing? Well, how do I know the right things? Well, their the things that lead us to that picture of where we’re going down the road.

Chris Goede:     And as leaders, the larger the organization that you’re leading, I want to make sure that … Perry makes a really valid point here that the vision for the organization, make sure that there’s alignment at every level in what those team’s visions are, so that it’s all pointing to where that organization wants to go. It’s a little bit of a deeper conversation and thought, but you got to have alignment with that throughout the organizations, because if you have teams with different visions and an organization has one vision, you’re going to have people going all over the place. Oftentimes, even myself, for a long time, it was like, man, what’s the difference between vision and mission, right?

Perry Holley:    I hear that question a lot.

Chris Goede:     You hear this and are they the same thing? What does this look like? And so what I thought I would do is I thought I would just tell you a little bit about our, the John Maxwell organization, our John Maxwell Company, what our mission and what our vision is. And that way it may come to life for you. It may not, but a mission defines what a business is. A vision describes where we’re going. And to your point, it’s that north star. Where is the organization going? Mission is here, vision is still out there. And then mission is now, vision is next.

So a couple key phrases there, but for us at the John Maxwell Company, here’s our mission. We are a people-centric, values-based servant leadership, right? That’s what we want to do every day. That’s what we’re doing this podcast for. It’s why our team is in here recording and editing and pushing out because we want to make sure that we are serving you, that we’re talking about values and that we’re people-centric. Now our vision, okay, so now switching over to vision, which is out there, is this is a word that John has been talking about for some time. And it took me a while to get my arms around it. And John often says, Hey, leaders see further than others, they see more before others, and this is true. He started talking about transformation.

Matter of fact, when he wrote his book several years ago entitled Intentional Living, he really wanted to write a transformation book. But we as a team and maybe the market, we didn’t feel like they could get their arms around what transformation really went, but that’s John’s vision. That’s where he’s going. That’s where he’s leading us. And so our vision is transformation where we want to grow leaders to transform the world around them. That’s our vision. So let’s give our listeners some practical tips, a couple ways to actually develop a vision that may help them in where they’re at on their journey.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. I took a little bit from … because we do the Traction, Gino Wickman as part of our L10 meetings. We’re using that way we manage our business and Gino suggests a couple of questions. If you’re in search of a vision, I like these, what role in the world do we want our organization to play? So you just said, John wants to transform. Transform what? The world.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    He starts big and he comes back to individuals,

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    What is the idealized future state we want to create? So what’s the ideal future state we see? If we’re going to have our organization play that role, what do we want to look like? And the third one he said was, how will people live differently if we’re successful? And that’s really a good one on how John defines transformation.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    It will transform lives of people. They will live differently. How so? Well, you can get specific as you want on those, but what is the role you want to play in the world? What does that future state look like? And how are people going to live differently if you’re successful?

Chris Goede:     If you’re going to be able to create a vision, these are three great questions that Perry poses for us right here that’ll be in your notes that you can download, the learner’s guide in there. And take some time, get away from the business, get away from the day to day side of things and answer this question. You may not have the answers initially, but I think if you begin to think on them, that you’ll begin to develop them. Maybe you can even ask your leader. Maybe you can ask other people in the organization what are their thoughts about that? Begin to really pull together what the thoughts are on those three questions. And remember, I just said just a minute ago that John says, Hey, as leaders, we see more before others do, and for him, that was transformation. And so you’ve got to take some time, start with these questions, back up and begin to think about what is it that we want to accomplish. What is next? To your description earlier, what’s next for our organization?Perry Holley:    So, a question that comes up a lot on coaching when we’re talking about developing visions, they say, well, my CEO has the vision. My CEO is the one that’s that sets the vision. I shouldn’t be setting a vision for my department or for my organization, should I?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    What are your thoughts on that?

Chris Goede:     I think you should. Yeah, I think you’ve got to bring it down to their level, because oftentimes teams have a hard time of tying and connecting what they’re doing and the vision of their work and their cause to the bigger cause. And as a leader, it’s your responsible. It’s got to be an alignment with that though. If it’s not in alignment, then you’re doing the organization a disservice, but they need to know. Your team needs to know the big picture that we’re responsible for, but we need to make sure we’re very clear in how their role leads the organization to accomplishing what that vision might look like.

Most leaders at whatever level they are in the organization will need to paint a picture for their team. I think even if you have a very small team, don’t just say, we’re worried about the KPIs, the metrics, and we’re going to keep doing this month after month, because I think you’re missing out. To your point earlier, especially with the next generation, every next generation, right, the younger that they get coming up, we need to make sure that we are driving engagement levels, because man, they are poor and they continue to be poor. Right? They’re moving by the decimal point. And in order to do that, we’ve got to tie the visions together.

Perry Holley:    Fantastic. Well, I know you do that for us. I think Mark Cole sets the vision for the company and you’re on that team that helps him with that. But you then turn around and help us as a team. How do we fit into that bigger vision? But what is our vision for what we do and the markets we serve? How are we going to be the best division for the audiences we serve in those? So it’s really, you’re a great model for that. So why don’t you wrap it up for us and take us home?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. As we close, just don’t think vision is a soft word, a pie in the sky, don’t need to have one. No matter what the situation is, if you’re an organization, you probably do have one. It’s probably on a poster in the office somewhere. People probably don’t know what it is. I challenge you to simplify it and then repeat it. There should not be a meeting on a weekly basis that you go into as a leader. Maybe you’re not the leader. Maybe you’re just a team member that you don’t hear what the vision is, or what your mission is, or what the purpose is. Get in a rhythm of doing that. Going back to something we’ve talked about from the very get go, which is The 5 Levels of Leadership, it builds a common language that drives beliefs, that drives behaviors. And you have to start with the vision. And so, no matter if it’s an organization or a team, I want to encourage you just to pause in the business of life, the business of our organizations and doing business. And I know it starts every morning when that alarm clock goes up. There’s new KPIs, but I want to encourage you just to back up, spend some time, figure out what does that look like from the organization or from your team?

Perry Holley:    Fantastic. Thank you, Chris, and thank you for joining. If you want to learn more about those five levels of leadership, you can do that at You can also leave a comment or a question for us there. We love hearing from you and we love that you would spend this time, very grateful that you would spend this time with us each week. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast.

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