Simply put, it's
WHO you are and WHY you exist
as an organization. (In business, education, ministry, family, etc...)
You exist to _______________________, so that _______________________.
You exist to (do something specific), so that (a specific thing happens as a result).
When you can articulate who you are, what makes you tick, what breaks your heart, what keeps you up at night, what you'd do if you could spend all day doing it...you are getting close to your vision.
The key word there is articulate.
Yes, it's important.
If you can't be clear, you'll never be able to explain it to anyone else.
You can't give clear directions
where there aren't specific boundaries.
That is what a clearly articulated vision does for you and your organization.
It's the starting, middle and end point of your conversations, meetings, brainstorming, etc...
It keeps you on track.
It's your filter.
We exist to help you discover WHO you are, so that you will know WHAT to do.
That is what drives us at WHOBIX.
That is our vision.
It's clear. It's concise. It's our filter.
Notice we aren't calling it a "vision statement". Unfortunately that term comes with some serious baggage. It makes us think of some paragraph of general drivel with big words. Boiled down, I think we'd be hard-pressed to find a single person in any organization that could repeat, much less explain one of those from memory.
When you get who you are and why you exist into a single sentence, something cool happens.
It gets you past incoherent babbling, and into intelligent conversation.
It enables you to cast your vision to me.
It empowers your team to do the same with others.
It gets me, as the listener, excited to hear more about you.
It allows your team to process opportunities more effectively because it keeps you on point.
It helps you avoid getting distracted by something that looks cool, but ultimately isn't who you are.
Do you see where all of that is going?
Having a clearly articulated vision will keep your team focused.
Having a clearly articulated vision will help you lead with confidence.
Having a clearly articulated vision will launch your team into it's calling.
Having a clearly articulated vision will attract others to join you on the journey.
Who are you?
Why do you exist?
Start brainstorming thoughts, words, phrases.
It will take some time, but the most beautiful, simple, articulate, and meaningful things always do.
Put this on your whiteboard.
Pin it on your corkboard.
Place this on your bathroom mirror.
We exist to ______________________________, so that ___________________________________.
I can't wait to hear your vision.
I get excited when other people find theirs.
And if you get stuck, send us a note.
Maybe we can help you discover yours.
Passion: If you aren't bleeding the vision of your organization, how can you expect anyone on your team to? Actually…I once heard it said that "the leader has to hemorrhage in order for the people that follow to bleed". Sounds kinda gross…but makes a great point. You can't sit back and send your team to the front lines to fight for you all day as you sit in your silk robe in a castle far away. Roll your sleeves up…teach them, speak into them, go with them…show them the way.
Patience: There will be days when it feels like you are on a treadmill instead of an actual run where you can see progress. Everything seems stationary at best. If you lose your noodle in frustration in this moment, you'll lose your people in indifference soon. Instead, realize that the "treadmill days" are still doing something very important. They are creating a culture of endurance. Even though you can't see progress today, you are preparing people who are willing to keep running anyway. That is a culture that will be ready for a marathon on a moments notice.
Persistence: This is beyond treadmill time. This is when the treadmill is broken, coffee pot breaks, half your team is late and the other half is playing candy crush on their phones. If you get to this point, it's time to hit mental rewind as the leader. Go back to day one and ask yourself "WHY did I start this?" Not in a pity party kind of way, but in an honest, heart-level look at your purpose. Once you've dialed into that, go back to leading with passion and preparing to be persistent to do whatever you need to do to get your team back on track.
These 3 leadership reminders aren't magic fairy tale dust. Leading always requires hard work, consistency, transparency, authenticity, and a willingness above all else to be teachable.
Grab on to these 3 things as a quick mental exercise to see if where you are, is where you should be. If it is, way to go! Keep at it! If not, now you've got a little nudge to take care of what needs to be fixed. Get at it!
As always…thanks for stopping by! It's always humbling to know you chose to be here. I appreciate your time, and wish you all the best as you lead your team…wherever you may be!
"Just give me fair warning".
Many times, what that really means is this:
"If I had only known sooner,
I could have done something about it".
The fact is, many times we did.
We knew much sooner.
We just chose to ignore it.
Don't get me wrong…
Are there times when things hit us without warning that we couldn't do anything about with even the best preparation? Yes. There are always exceptions to the rule.
But I've never met someone, (myself included), who should be truly shocked at the outcome of a situation when we had the ability to alter it.
So as you start your week, look around.
Are you doing what you can, with what you have, where you are?
Are you begging people to help you be lazy (asking for "fair warning"),
or preparing like you'll never need one, (embracing "without warning)?
"Fair warnings" are for those who enjoy sitting down until they have to stand up.
"Without warnings" are for the rest who are prepared because they're already moving.
It's the difference between doubting things will turn out well,
and knowing you've done all that you can.
We want a life that gives us "fair warning",
We need to be better prepared
so we are ready for "without warning".
JFK nailed it with this quote...
"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining".
SO...Do the hard work early so you can watch the rain in your living room through your window, not feel it on your head.
I remember the day well. It was in May of 2000. I drove her to a beautiful creek where I would "pop the question". I didn't want to give away where we were going. I wanted to surprise her. I blindfolded her for the ride, which almost turned out to be a disaster. Turns out that can evoke motion sickness. Luckily the drive wasn't too long.
When we arrived I asked her to take my arm and I began to lead her through a wooded and windy path to our destination. As we got closer you could hear music (I had planted it there ahead of time). It was Jim Brickman. That tends to get the romantic mood all taken care of.
At this point I proceeded to get on my knee in the middle of a creek rushing past our feet on a warm spring evening. I shared that from this moment forward I couldn't go forward without her. But I knew that the only way to guarantee that was to intentionally ask her to join me permanently on this journey we call life.
Thankfully she said yes, and a little over 14 years later life is good. Actually, better than I ever could have imagined. Three great kids, one incredible wife, and a life together as a family that I wouldn't trade for the world.
So why am I sharing this story with you?
Something hit me today.
The only way my story worked was because I was intentional
about asking one simple question.
Will you marry me?
It's a commitment thing. It's a once you do this, there is no going back. It's a you better be serious, because this is for keeps. It's all good…but it's also all-in!
Even though I wanted to be engaged to Cara, it wasn't going to happen accidentally.
I had to ask.
And the more I thought about that concept I see it applying
to many people in many other areas of life.
We want to be in better shape, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want to be better informed about an idea, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want to be in a healthy relationship, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want a better job, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want to pursue something that will change our life, but we can't do it accidentally.
And because we can't do any of these things accidentally,
we need to be real about them.
The only way we can deal with them is to
make the decision to intentionally act on them.
We have to "pop the question" to ourselves.
We have to move from just liking being married to the idea,
to being engaged to the process first.
When Cara said "yes", it started a process.
We began to make plans for our wedding.
We were moving forward, together, on a whole other level.
And it's the same for whatever it is in your life that you want to move forward with.
You'll need to make the commitment to be "engaged" today.
You'll need to understand engagement is a process.
And at the end of the day,
every decision you make will honor this commitment you've made.
And over time, at some point, you'll cement your commitment with an "I do".
We have a little saying, Cara and I, that comes out when I am overwhelmed at how blessed I am to be married to my best friend. Something will happen. It can be as simple as walking by her and seeing her face. It can be the result of something funny our kids do. Whatever triggers it, here is what happens…
I look at Cara and say this…
"Thanks for saying YES!"
At which point she will look at me with a smile and say…
"Thanks for asking".
You have to ask.
You can't get accidentally engaged.
Not to your spouse.
And not to your calling.
And one last thing. I talked a lot about great things that you may want to pursue. This works the same for things you may need to separate yourself from. If you are struggling with something, you can't accidentally give it weight in your life. You either choose to become engaged to it and the negative influence it has in your life, or you separate from it.
Just like you can't get accidentally engaged to great things in your life,
it works the same for negative things.
I hope this encourages you today.
Find the wrong things, and separate yourself from them.
Find the right things…
and get engaged.
Put The Hay Away!
You've heard the phrase "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack" many times.
The phrase itself is basically admitting defeat. It's too hard. You'll never find it.
But what if it's as simple as reversing our train of thought?
Stop looking for the needle, and put away the hay.
Seriously…you aren't going to find the needle by tossing the hay around randomly until it appears. But if you commit to systematically "putting away the hay" a little bit at a time?
The only thing left will be the very thing you wanted all along.
I don't know what your "needle" is.
And I don't know what the "hay" is that is keeping you from finding it.
I do know that if you
do what you can, with what you have, where you are…
You'll find the needle faster than you think.
That is how you get "IT" done.
Systems & Structures.
What in the world do they have to do with wheat?
In order for any organization to grow, each part of it must have a distinct purpose. And the number one thing that prevents that from happening is our struggle to hold on to personal preference.
That piece you see in the picture looks nice. It appears to be growing, as does more around it. The ONLY way that happened was the fact that at some point, someone let go.
Someone intentionally planted a kernel of it so it could grow. Someone decided to give up "their right" to hold onto their way. Someone chose structure over wishful thinking.
It's the same exact way in our teams.
It's the same exact way with our vision.
It's the same exact way for our potential moving forward.
The moment we "die to personal preference" and submit to systems and structure, we begin to realize the real possibility of multiplication moving forward.
The moment we stop holding onto, "just as it is", is when we will experience the growth we've been looking for.
The moment our hands are free again, is when we'll be able to truly serve again. And that is really the point anyway. Any great team is always serving first, so that they are prepared to bring in the harvest later.
That is what it means to have systems and structure in place. That is what it means to experience order instead of chaos.
That is what it means to let go, so you can grow.
Anything less is just selfish.
Anything less is a set-up for frustration.
Anything less is walking away from your greatest potential.
Don't mail in your future, let go of your wheat.
That is how you multiply your progress,
in a healthy environment.
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Part 4 is coming to a blog near you soon (this one).
Here is what we'll tackle in it...
4. You've got to be able to measure your progress. You must do this so that you know if where you are at this point will help you get to where you are called to go.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.