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​Maxwell Leadership Podcast: Leader-Vision: How to See and Sculpt the Future

November 17, 2021
​Maxwell Leadership Podcast: Leader-Vision: How to See and Sculpt the Future

Today we’re talking about “Leader-Vision!” If that sounds like a superpower, well, it kind of is! You see, leaders have the ability to see the future––what could be and should be. You don’t need a crystal ball or a fortune teller to show you the future, because leaders are the people that form the future. Today on the podcast, John Maxwell is going to share his take on what the Gallup Management Journal calls “Visioning.” Visioning is the leader’s ability to look out, across, and beyond the organization to the future and usher in the people they lead. You’re going to learn what makes the foundation of a good vision, what fuels the vision, and what makes a vision a success.

For the application portion of the episode, Mark Cole and Chris Goede discuss the ways they implement these principles to see and sculpt the future of The John Maxwell Enterprise. They share how leaders can see what is not there and how the future is shaped by what we imagine.

Our BONUS resource for this episode is the Leader-Vision Worksheet, which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.


Mark Cole:       Hey leaders, Mark Cole here. Welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. Today we're talking about leader vision. If that sounds like a superpower, well it is. It is a superpower. See, leaders have the ability to see the future. What could be and what should be. You don't need a crystal ball or a fortune teller to show you the future, because leaders are the people that form the future.

Today on the podcast, John Maxwell is going to share his take on what the Gallup Management Journal calls visioning. Visioning is the leader's ability to look out across and beyond the organization to the future, and usher in the people they lead. You're going to learn what makes the foundation of a good leader, a good vision, and what fuels that vision. See, a leader makes vision a success.

After John's lesson, I'll be joined by my co-host Chris Goede. We're going to dive deeper into John's lesson and share how we are using John's principles to see and sculpt our own future at the Maxwell enterprise. As always, we have a free Bonus Resource for you, which is the fill in the blank notes from John's lesson. And you can find those by visiting Click on the Bonus Resource button just below the show notes, and you will be able to download those notes. Now, without further ado, here is John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  Successful leaders are able to look out across and beyond the organizations. They have a talent for seeing and creating the future. They use highly visual language that paints pictures of the future for those that they lead. And as a result, they seem to attain bigger goals because they create a collective mindset that propels people to help them make their vision a reality.

So let's talk about vision. Number one, the foundation of a vision is reality. Whenever I say that, that becomes many times surprising to people, because you think of vision as what could be, what should be, what you hope to be. And then I come behind it and say, "The foundation of any vision is based upon reality." Max DuPree, one of the great executives, Max DuPree said, "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality."

So what I'm saying to you is that you need to develop a reality statement before a vision statement. Why? Because if your vision is going to be launched, listen carefully, it has to be launched on solid ground. Don't ever fool yourself and have an unrealistic foundation to build a vision on, or you'll find that vision will start to crumble very, very quickly.

So you develop a reality statement. In other words, where am I? Who am I? What am I? What are we? Develop that reality statement before you cast the vision. A lack of realism today, costs credibility tomorrow. That's a fact. In fact, when I am listening to somebody casting vision, and they're not realistic about where they are now, I have no trust in where they're going. Because if you're not realistic about the facts today, how can you ever be assured of the hopes of tomorrow? In other words, when you start to form your vision, less hype and more honesty.

Now the reality in the vision is going to explain three things. If you really use reality as the foundation for launching your vision, three things are going to come out. Number one, the situation. And the situation almost always is things are worse than you think. Isn't that true? I'm not trying to be negative. I'm just trying to be realistic. So look at the situation, which is usually worse than you think.

Secondly, look at the process. What's it going to take to reach our vision, to reach our goal? And can I tell you something? That's going to be longer than you think. The only time you can build a great vision and achieve it fast is in a board meeting. So when you really get realistic about your vision and put on right foundation, the situation, it's worse than you think. The process is longer than you think. And the price. You know where I'm going here, don't you? It's higher than you think. It's always going to take longer and cost more. Not being negative, being realistic.

Here's what I found. If you could be realistic on the front end, you can take adversity throughout the vision. If you're unrealistic on the front end, adversity will get the best of you. Organizations stop growing when the price gets too high. That's just an absolute fact. But if I'm going to give you directions, I cannot give you directions until I know where you are. You cannot cast vision until you have a foundation of reality.

Okay. So the foundation of vision is reality. The energy of a vision is the response. In other words, the response you get from the people when you cast the vision controls how much energy the vision's going to have. The response will be determined by two things. By the message, in other words, what's being said. And the messenger, who is saying it. Larry Crabb in talking about the message says, "A vision we give to others of who and what they can become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls." And when the message connects with the recipient, the response is positive.

I can still remember back in 1970 as a very young, young, young positional leader, but not knowing much about leadership, reading Jay Oswald Sander's book, Spiritual Leadership, and how my heart responded. I'm reading these pages and it's leaping. My heart is leaping out at these words, and I'm saying, "Yes, this is what I feel. This is what I think. No one's ever put this in print before."

So the response of the message is what provides the energy to it. Now the messenger. When the messenger connects with the message that connects with the recipient, the response is over overwhelmingly positive. That's true. You see vision casting can be done by a communicator. Vision convincing can only be done by a leader. Anyone can cast vision. Only leaders can get buy-in. In the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, the law of buy-in: People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. The message and the messenger. In your notes, enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interest, hopes, and dreams.

Now, how do you do that as a leader? How can you create this commonness of vision that gets that kind of response and that kind of buy-in? Here's the list. This is not my list. Kouzes and Posner who wrote the book The Leadership Challenge, which I have always considered the best leadership book I have ever read. Here's what they say about giving and getting buy-in into your vision: Identify your constituents. In other words, you got to know who you're talking. Find the common ground. Remember this. Change always occurs on common ground. When people want to make changes in an organization, they too often look at what separates them instead of what unites to them.

Find the common ground. Develop your interpersonal competence. In other words, get relationally good with people. Breathe life into your vision. Speak positively. Speak from the heart. Make the intangible tangible. Listen first, and often. That's real good practical stuff in how to get people to buy-in the vision. Leaders take the vision from me to we. That's what they do. It goes from the single person who has the vision through the organization to the people.

Okay. Let's just take a moment. Let's think back what I've said so far about vision. The foundation of a vision is reality. The energy of a vision is the response that is given. The success of the vision are the resources. Visions without resources can never be accomplished. And the resources needed to accomplish a vision are threefold: a plan. You've got to have a strategy, a plan. People. You've got to not only know what you want to see happen, but you got to have people to make it happen. And letter C: You have to have money. So as I said, a vision without money's pipe dream.

The plan. When we lose sight of the distinction between our plans and the vision that we are pursuing, we set ourselves up for a large dose of discouragement. I've seen people abandon their vision because their plan failed. Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Here's the distinction. A vision is what could and should be. A plan is a guess as to the best way to accomplish the vision. Visions are refined. They don't really change very much. Plans are revised. They rarely stay the same. Be stubborn about the vision. Be flexible with your plans. Strategies and timelines are always up for grabs.

But the second third of the resources that you need are the people. You've got to have the right team. Teamwork makes the dream work. A vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team. Oh my goodness. I see it happen all the time. Big dream, bad team. Impossible. In fact, when anybody ever sits down and says, "John, let me tell you about my dream." I'm always interested in hearing people's dreams because I want to encourage them. And when I hear them talk about their dream, when the right opportunity comes in the process of that conversation, I always stop. And I say, "Let me ask you a question. How good is your team?"

Let me tell you something. You will not achieve what your dream is. You will achieve the level that your team is. Your team will determine the reality of the dream. A lot of people have very valid visions and an invalid team. Let me put it this way. If you have a 10 dream, that's a big dream. Isn't it? A 10 dream. If you have a 10 dream and you have a two team you're in deep weeds. If you happen to have a 10 team and a two dream, you'll go way beyond your dream. You will go only as high as your not dream will take you, but as your team will take you.

So you have to have the plan. You've got to have the people. And thirdly, you've got to have the money. People and money, listen carefully, people and money follow the vision. So when I run into a leader who says, "I've got this great vision, but I don't have any people that come around it." I tell them not to worry. If the vision is valid, the people will come. I just came from Pebble Beach. We just did a banquet this week, where we had about, oh, I don't know, about 250 people come in. Husbands and wives played golf, had a great time. Every night had banquets, showed them what we were doing internationally with the leaders. They heard success stories. We brought people from around the world whose lives had been changed. And it was just a wonderful, wonderful time.

And one night I was speaking and I shared with them that 10 years ago I started EQUIP. And I said, "When I started the vision, when I had the vision, I didn't have you." In fact, I said, "Let me illustrate." I said, "How many of you that are in this room knew me 10 years ago?" And out of 250 people, 27 people stood. Now these are people that have given millions and millions of dollars to EQUIP.

Listen very carefully. When you get the dream and you get the vision, your job is to start walking. The resources will not come as long as you stand. But as you start walking, if the dream, when the vision is valid, you'll start attracting the people around you that will make it happen. But you have to act on the vision and then you begin to engage people. And by the way, the better the dream and the bigger the dream, the better the people, the bigger the people that you attract.

So if you haven't attracted anybody big lately, that's a statement probably on your dream. And if you haven't attracted quality people lately, that's probably again a statement on your dream. So the resources of a vision to make it a success are the plan, the strategy, the people, and the dollars.

Mark Cole:       Chris. I'm so glad to be in the studio with you. Wow. Just listening to John I'm reminded of that Jonathan Swift quote, "Vision is the art of seeing the invisible." And I can't wait to get into this. I want to recognize today, we have so many podcast listeners. And before we get into vision, let me tell you, we did a session not too long ago, an episode about how to have tough conversations and Tamika, she sent in a comment and I just wanted to recognize it, because Tamika's a leader. She said, "This podcast is awesome. I just had a difficult conversation. And I used many of the tools prior to hearing this podcast. The podcast truly affirms the conversation that I had."

And I wanted to highlight Tamika's comment because going back to Jonathan Swift's quote, "Vision is the art of seeing the invisible." Tamika, what you did is you saw the invisible acted on it and then came back and got some tools to affirm it. John quotes recently, he's quoting Steve Jobs that says, "The decisions you make makes more sense looking backward than looking forward."

It's the same thing with vision. Sometimes as leaders, Chris, we cast a vision and when it happens, everybody gives us high five like it was incredible. But they're seeing in the reverse behind us whereas we as leaders sometimes have to see before, before it's even feasible. So I'm excited. John gave us some really good tool today to sculpt vision. Glad you're in the studio.

Chris Goede:     Well, listen, we were joking with producer Jake just a minute ago and we said, "How long do mark and I have for this lesson, an hour and 40 minutes?" He looked us and he said, "No, you got 25 minutes." So we're going to do our best. Let me go back to Tamika's comment here. What I love about that is that she is the reason why we do this.

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     We talk about adding value to leaders who then multiply value in other people. And that's exactly what she did. And I love that she's a lifelong learner. She's absorbing the content and then using it. And man, I'm grateful that she was took a little bit of time to share that with us so we could share that with listeners too. And as you have stories like that in your leadership journey, don't hesitate to share them with Mark, myself, and the team so that we can continue to just share them on the air and learn what you guys are learning. So Tamika, great job with that. Absolutely love it, doing that.

Now I'm super excited about this because if you are in the middle of a leadership journey, this is your journey, my friend. Yep. And when we think about taking vision and turning it into reality, in essence that's what leaders do. And you have been given the opportunity to take a visionary, John Maxwell, and you have to now in this next phase of your leadership take that and imagine something bigger. You've been called to carry this mantle with his legacy.

John talks about it in the very first step. And I want to back up to this first step for just a minute, when he says the foundation of a vision is reality. And you, my friend, you have to come back to reality as you're leading our organization in this enterprise to where we're going and begin to see and sculpt our future. But you got to define where we're at right now, and then where your desire and John's desire is for that vision and the future. And you got to figure all that. I've seen you wrestle with it for years. I've seen clarity come around it. I've seen it change. All that kind of good stuff. But he says less hype and more reality.

So let's just stop right here real quick. There's a lot of hype. John creates a lot of excitement, but we got to get into the weeds. We got to build the foundation of reality. Has that been hard for you to kind of pull everybody back and have maybe sometimes tough conversations, closed door conversations, say, "No, no, this is the reality where we're at." And then, "This is where we want to go. Let's get all the hype, all that kind of stuff with succession planning," has that been hard for you as a leader?

Mark Cole:       Yeah. Because isn't it true that when you're trying to go somewhere that it really is invisible to most, as Jonathan Swift says. Reality can be a weight or a lift. You can define where you are so much so that you get so focused on the weeds of where you are that you can't lift your vision of where you need to go. Or you can take where you are and stand on the success of yesterday to envision the next peak to accomplish.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       And I've watched people all the time deal with this reality issue to defend their natural bent of perspective. "Well, I'm just keeping it real. This is going to be very hard." "Okay. Thank you very much. I know it's going to be hard. Now can you envision something with me of how rewarding it's going to be?" And too many people that use reality as a tool to level set people don't use reality as a lift to see the next peak. They use it as a weight to tell you why it's not going to happen.

And I love this, Chris, because right now here is the reality of the John Maxwell enterprise. We are a persona organization.

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       John Maxwell is absolutely one of the most influential people in the area of leadership than anybody in the world. So how do we begin to expand a vision of the next 50 years? And that whole piece, there is reality. That's where John is at his stage in life of where he is in his stage of influence that can either lift us to see a brighter future, or it can weigh us down to say this is next to impossible.

Chris Goede:     What I love about that, here's the first thing that came to mind about this. You know, John in there talks about, and we were kind of giggling, where he talks about how in reality, the situation is probably worse than what we thought it was. The process is going to take a lot longer. We know that. And the price is going to be higher.

Here's what I love. Here's what came my mind. You cast the vision for us as a leadership team, as an organization, and where you want to take our organization, where John. The reality statement is this. I want you to talk a little bit about this, because I think this is brilliant. You get us on that board. You cast it. We see where you want to go. It's something maybe we haven't imagined. And we're all like, "Yes, absolutely." And then you always have a closing statement for us. That's reality. And you know where I'm going with this, which is, "All right team, just remember, this is the best you're ever going to feel about this decision we're making."

Now, you knew that going in. But once you got us there and cast a vision, you wanted to come back and say, "Man, this is reality." And I think it's been very good. Talk a little bit about just the reason for sharing that with us as a team from your leadership seat, and the importance that leaders do bring them back to that reality. Make that statement.

Mark Cole:       Well, let me say this. Vision sculpting, I love this word that Jake and her team have come up with, how to see and sculpt the future. That sculpting feels like a superpower too to a very non-creative person. But leadership sculpting or vision sculpting is more art than it is science. Now we're starting with a point of reality, which is science. What do the facts say? What's reality? But the art of sculpting a vision really also you also have to know who you're communicating to.

Now, let me make one correction to what you said. I hope I don't say this is the best you're ever. And I think I have said this, this is the best you're ever going to feel. What I mean to say, this is the best you're going to feel about it for the next year, for the next six months, or the next three months.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, not ever. Jake, delete that word ever for me. I want to be invited back.

Mark Cole:       Well, I think I've said ever lately. So I've got to correct that because as leaders, when I'm talking to leaders, guess who's going to have to make the tough decisions? Guess who's going to have to let go of the comfortable and the past? Guess who's going to have to remain hopeful when the team feels despair?

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       It's leaders.

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       So I don't think I've ever said, or I shouldn't say to people that would report to you, Chris, or people that are two or three or four levels down that are not wrestling with the leadership component of vision, that this is the best you're ever going to feel, or the best you're going to feel about in the next year, the next six months.

So when I'm talking to leaders, here's what I mean by that. Vision for the future demands letting go of the success of yesterday. It demands it. You cannot get to where you're going by holding onto where you are. You can't. So vision, as we said, a couple of times here, it's about seeing the invisible, but it's inspiring people to what a leader believes is the inevitable. So it's helping people with the invisible, but inspiring them with the inevitable.

As a leader, I've got to believe my vision. It's not, maybe it will happen. I think it's going to happen. Hey, if it doesn't happen, we're still going to be successful. When a leader is casting vision, there is a visualization that happens in their eyes that you began to see it. Side note. I got to see my first movie since COVID last week and by the way, last week, which is a couple of weeks ago now. And it was the James Bond movie. It was fabulous. It's highly recommended for all of you out in podcast land.

But let me tell you this right here. There was a preview, and the preview is about Serena and Venus Williams and the movie that's coming out on those two young ladies. Now ladies that are established icons. And the preview was riveting at how their dad talked to them about what it would feel like to be the next Tiger Woods, the next Michael Jordan. And he began to put a vision in those young girls' minds that was absolutely powerful. The preview told the story of the movie.

A leader has got to believe the vision that they're creating. So deal with reality. But once you're done with reality, as John's talking about, get into the unseen and believe it just as much as reality.

Chris Goede:     You know, you come in and we tease you sometimes and you admit this where you talk about I'm coming into my red hair, and your passion, and you believe where we're going. I've heard people say that in the casting vision, things you have to do, is you to live it matters. Leaders, your vision matters. And you live that out with passion.

But what I also love about that, another thing to bring that right back to reality is that you also celebrate with the organization and with the team as you see us beginning to make strides to what we can't see that you can. And you celebrate that along the way. Now, listen, put your seat belts back on. Let's go to work. But you bring that to reality for us that says, "Hey, this is where I saw us taking a step to that," and aligning with the vision that you have as a leader for John's legacy and allows us to keep moving forward.

Mark Cole:       Let me speak into that, Chris. We have, perhaps those of you in podcasts land have seen the recent release that we did on a league of extraordinary leaders. I know that you that are consistent podcast listeners as Joel Manby, Tim Elmore, Jeff Henderson, and others began to share on the podcast. Go back and listen to it if you hadn't. In fact we'll link to those in the show notes today. We'll link to those previous podcasts.

But we're calling them that our league of extraordinary leaders, because we know for John Maxwell to be successful 50 years from now, it's going to take some extraordinary leaders that can continue messaging, creating, writing, and delivering content that our values. So that's kind of our big aha plan we're going after.

A few weeks ago, about six now, we had an event called L2L. It was a powerful experience, Chris, back to your point. For me, we did some things we could have done better as far as promoting it, as far as letting our vision be felt by the world. But as soon as that event was over, I sit down in my hotel room, because I jumped on a plane and went to California right after. I sit down in my hotel room and I recorded a video to our team.

We were high. The event was incredible. We had just platformed our league of leaders. We had just made some mistakes in how we communicated. There were some advancements and some setbacks. But here's what I wanted the team to know. This is what the vision we've been talking about for two years, this is what it looked like. Smelled like. Tasted like. Experienced like. This was it. Because as has been said many times, Chris, this was our best L2L ever.

Well some of that is because it's the one we have most proximity too. We forgot last year, the year before. Some of that's there. Didn't matter. Leaders know how to see something that finally becomes tangible and make it visible. So we don't only cast vision on the invisible. We make real the visible when the invisible becomes tangible. And every leader needs to understand the art is not just in saying something you hope and believe and aspire to. It's in making mile marker points of accomplishment along the way.

Chris Goede:     Listen, John says at the end of this lesson. If you missed it, go back into it again where he says, "When you get the dream and the vision, just start walking."

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     And that's exactly what you challenge us to do. And even before Live to Lead where we introduced the league of leaders, we've made decisions and we've done things where they were just small steps, but you were making the statement to us. Just start doing it. Just start walking. And that introduction while we didn't do it perfect, made mistakes, it's just another step in our walk to a point to where we go to this philosophical brand versus persona brand. Okay. All right. Let me get us back on track just a bit here. Okay?

I've got two other things that I think where you're at in your leadership journey right now that I want people to hear about in regards to this vision. I've seen you now with John be in positions outside our organization, casting the vision for where we're going. So whether it is partners in the field, whether it's board members, whether it's organizations, whatever it is, what's been the biggest challenge for you as we look at this scene and sculpting the future, that is John's by the way. But John used to be the leader, and now you are the leader. What's been the biggest challenge for you, and maybe how people have received it? What are some hurdles you've had to get over as you cast this vision now as our owner and the CEO of a founder-driven organization that we're building?

Mark Cole:       Well. So this will go deep, Chris, the response to the question. And so for just a moment podcast listeners, let me talk to one of my key guys that is helping me drive this, Chris, and talk to you. Today when we're recording this podcast, when Chris Goede and I are in studio, I just finished up a lunch with my friend. I'll say his name, many of you probably know Sam Chan, long time passionate guy connected with John. And I sit at lunch with him today. And I began to share with him the answer to your question.

So this will be a very connected question to you and I, and podcast listeners, grab a notepad and pen and find something useful out of this. My greatest challenge is my sense of purpose does not rest in a successful organization. Sorry, guys, I'm trying to lead seven multimillion dollar companies out there, and I really want to be good at it. But my success orientation, my KPIs, if you want on a personal level, is how well I am serving John Maxwell, the founder of this organization. How well I am carrying the vision that he's given us. How well I am doing it proximity to him and his direction.

So as I'm beginning to transition and recognize the responsibility of a 50 year, a hundred year, a legacy brand like John Maxwell so deservedly should have, I am working through a personal challenge of when do I step up with vision and when do I surrender to another vision?

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       So it's the step up and surrender, which again, is not going to apply to a lot of you because we're talking about vision here. But it's a very real, authentic answer to you, Chris, that when you are succeeding somebody else's vision with the response ability to craft and sculpt a bigger vision, there is a tension point of holding onto the past vision and releasing the past vision, and aspiring toward the future vision. And while I don't know where that fits in our bullet points, that is the authentic answer of a challenge. And I'm proud of that challenge.

I never want to lose, back to the point of the foundation of a vision is reality. I never want to lose the reality of why you and I get to sit across in the studio, Chris. That we're standing on the shoulders of a giant, an icon. I never want to lose that and get so caught up in vision that I don't appreciate the foundation of what we get.

Let me say one more thing about the preview I saw about Serena and Venus Williams, which it sounds like I'm getting a commission on that movie, but I'm going to watch it. Let's go watch it as a team, by the way.

Chris Goede:     I love it. That'd be great.

Mark Cole:       So what they never did was lose the passion and the excitement of the nostalgia of the game. And up in New York, they went to the US Open where they play. And they went and they just sat in those seats as 11 and 12-year-olds to recognize the significance of the legacy they were chasing. Now those girls have created a legacy of their own. But they never detached themselves from the nostalgia, the significance of tennis. I never want to lose the nostalgia of today's accomplishments with an aspiration of a view of a future that we're going after.

Chris Goede:     Well, listen, podcast listeners. Let me break this down for you as I heard it from Mark, and he's talking about the vision of John Maxwell. There may be a vision inside your team that you've taken over. There may be a vision inside the organization. I've often heard, Mark, you say, "Understand why the fences were built before you tear them down."

So the same thing is relevant for your leadership journey wherever you're at right now. Could be your family. Could be your community. Could be a volunteer group. Doesn't matter. I think what Mark has just poured into us right there is you've got to step up at times and lead with your new vision. Right? If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance a whole lot less.

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     So we've got to be doing that, right? We've got to be changing. But make sure you understand why the vision was of that team, of that organization, of that community group, of that whatever, before you completely step up and step all over it. So I didn't take notes, but I will go back and listen to it. And I think there's a lot of relevance to all our leaders out there.

Now I'm going to throw it to you, let you wrap up. But I have one last little comment I would love to you to speak on as you wrap up. In the notes that they provided for us, John mentions here, be stubborn about the vision. Okay? This goes right to what you were just talking about. When do I step up? When do I submit back? He says be stubborn about it. You know where we're going. You know what the vision is that you want for the John Maxwell enterprise. But then it says be flexible with your plan. Be flexible with the strategies and the timeline, because that's always up for grabs.

Now, coming out of 2020, we all know what that means. But you have to live that out because you just kind of modeled that for us in your answer of John. But this is an everyday thing for you because where you're at in this vision, casting vision, caring is that our founder is still with us every day and you're balancing that. And so I just want to say, "Well done," as we sit back and watch where you're at, what you're doing. Because you are stubborn, literally. I'm trying to get you to look at me because of that red hair.

Mark Cole:       We've had conversations. [crosstalk 00:00:34:10].

Chris Goede:     And listen, your wife, Stephanie just slipped me a hundred dollars bill on the side of the table. But what I love about it is your flexibility to the plan and the strategy and the timing based off of the team needs, more importantly John's needs. Just talk a little about what comes to mind as you wrap us up today.

Mark Cole:       Well, and let me say, this podcast listeners. Chris, there is a true paradox between stubbornness and flexibility. There is.

Chris Goede:     You're right.

Mark Cole:       And I'll tell you, I have learned in the last year and a half to be unrelenting on the direction that we're going, the idea of expanding John Maxwell from a persona to a philosophy. And there's been times that we've got hung up on words. We're in the middle of a rebranding process. There's been times that we've had disunity and all of those things. And I have learned to become more and more stubborn, more and more certain, more and more unrelenting.

Chris Goede:     You're on the wall.

Mark Cole:       On the direction. I'm on the wall. I won't come down. That's that's exactly right. However, where flexibility is required is on how we get there. Is it by plane? Is it by boat? Is it by car? Is it by foot? How we get there, I have learned more and more flexibility on, because I have an opinion about everything, back to your stubborn comment.

I'm trying as a visionary to become more stubborn on the things I should be on, which is the direction, which is the idea, which is the vision. What I have become more flexible on is how and when. Because if I do it too fast, what is it that Max DuPree says? Leadership is about disappointing people at the rate they can stand, at the pace they can stand.

Well, I believe new invigorating vision is about allowing people to get into a comfortableness of the timing and the how. And that's where leaders demonstrate flexibility. But leaders that have the responsibility for vision, be unrelenting on the direction.

Now there's a sticky idea I want to leave with you today as I wrap up. It's this. The future is shaped by what we imagine. Now think about that for a minute. Imagine Walt Disney. Imagine John Maxwell. Imagine you. Imagine me. Imagine Chris Goede. Our ability to shape the future is based on the thought time, the creativity time, the imagination time we have on envisioning that future.

If you're waiting on the facts or reality to shape the future, you will not be able to get out of what is possible into the realm of what is not possible. To really cast a vision, you're going to have to get into the realm of the impossible so that you can begin envisioning it, so that then you make the imagination become from invisible to visible. That's our goal. That's our challenge. That's what we leave you with today.

If you have not downloaded the Bonus Resource, go to You're going to find show notes there. We're going to have a lot of links. We're going to have things that'll really help you. As I've already said, come back next week for Focusing on the Future with Chris Goede.

Hey, and do what Tamika did. Leave us a comment. Tell us how we're doing. Tell us how this has affected you. And we look forward to learning with you again next week. Until then, let's listen. Let's learn. Let's love. Then let's leave.

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