"Over the years I have observed that effective leaders do three things well. They Dream, Design and Do. Preferably in that order but not always. Let's take a deeper look.
1. Dream - In the Proverbs it says that without vision the people perish. I think that is true in organizations that lose the passion for what they are doing. By contrast the leader who has mobilized a team that clearly understands where they are going and why, creates a powerful force that can literally change the world.
When I started at Focus on the Family I was a warehouse clerk and it took me a couple of promotions and a few years to understand my role as a leader. What were we doing? Order fulfillment, storage and retrieval, just basic boring stuff. Yet that is not how the CEO felt about it. Dr. Dobson would regularly take visitors and VIP's on tour of Operations because "they get things done." He told us we were part of the "hidden ministries" of Focus on the Family and that changed my thinking. I began to paint a vision of becoming a world class distribution center and ultimately our motto was "Being There for God's Divine Appointments". The staff responded wonderfully and I could literally feel the difference as I walked through the facility.
2. Design - All the dreams in the world will go nowhere if there is no design. I have heard some teach the "ready, fire, aim" technique. Can't you just skip a step and get right into it? Yes, for certain projects you can switch the aim part, but the key is that you still need to be ready and "design" is a part of the getting ready process.
When I relocated to Colorado we had a wonderful home that we moved into. The basement was unfinished and my wife and I said to each other "wouldn't it be great to finish that someday." 3 years later the basement was still unfinished. It wasn't until we started putting tape on the floor and getting drawings put together that the dream started to take shape. It wasn't long before the plans were approved by the county and within a few months we had a finished basement.
3. Do - You may have heard the saying that "leaders do the right things vs Managers do things right." While I am not sure I agree with the definition, there is one thing they both have in common, and that is the word DO! With no action there will predictably be no results.
Some of the common constraints leaders face with implementation is lack of money, fear of failure, not enough time, lack of expertise, resistance to change.
These constraints can be overcome with commitment, creativity and a bit of luck.
Actually I do not believe in luck. Let me refer again to Proverbs where it also says that a man makes his plans but the God directs his steps.
I think we do have the responsibility to plan but we need to understand that as we move forward we may need to pivot along the way. Providence has a way of directing what actually happens.
At one point I had a great plan and was completely on course for implementation. I had a great executive position in a large nonprofit, I owned my own adventure company that was growing, I was a year into my Doctorate in Business Administration and I was an adjunct faculty at a local University. I won't go into the details of my ultimate plan because everything changed in 2009.
Due to the economy tanking, I ended up losing my position, selling the business, dropping out of the doctoral program, and leaving the teaching opportunity.
Because of those changes, I ended up being free to move to PA and then to MT to help two companies design and implement major organizational initiatives.
Ultimately I ended up back in Colorado and made the decision to continue helping leaders navigate change through Forward One Business Coaching!
If you would like a workbook that can help with your Dream, Design, Do planning you can get that here. I wish you the best in becoming the Leader you were called to become.
Dwight Grant is a seasoned businessman with over 30 years of leadership experience. He lives in CO where he enjoys whitewater rafting, mountain biking and spending time with family.