Soon after a merger between two large organizations, our newly formed group was infected with infighting and chaos. I remember one group member constantly stirring the pot, continually criticizing our manager, team, and work. She never provided solutions. When something went wrong, she’d “dog pile;” jump on top, joining in to criticize others.
Her attitude began to spread; it’s like what happens when you put an apple and an onion in the refrigerator together. The apple, although initially sweet, will begin to taste like the onion if they are left together long enough. Bad attitudes are contagious. Anyway, everyone began pursuing selfish agendas, jockeying for position, which resulted in a disjointed and non-cooperative group.
We also suffered a credibility gap with our internal client. The new group wasn’t sure of our role and how we added value to the business. Our lack of clarity became a fog in our client’s mind.
I was very uncomfortable and unsatisfied with our circumstances. Then I remembered what the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish” (Proverbs 29:18 King James Version). Meaning, people will experience chaos, division, unproductiveness, and scatter without vision. If there is an idea of a preferred future, people will thrive with direction, passion, and focus. They will experience the hope of a better tomorrow and accomplish great things.
Where there is no vision, the people will perishProverbs 29:18 KJV
Reflecting on the scripture, I grew even more discontented with the group’s interaction and knew something had to be done. I prayed that God would grant me wisdom and the ability to influence the team positively.
During a one-on-one meeting with my manager, I asked him if he had a vision for the group and what he wanted to accomplish. He said, “nope.” No surprise. He confirmed what I could clearly see; without vision, our team wouldn’t ever be productive, useful, or considered our client’s strategic partner.
We talked about the challenges the newly formed group was experiencing. I shared with him that I had a burning desire to make our new organization and the team a great place to work. To help be part of the solution, I asked him if I could help develop a team vision statement – articulate who we want to become, create an idea of our preferred future. He told me, “I’m no good at vision stuff and not sure it will help. But I’m fully supportive if you can help me turn the ship around.”
Over a period of weeks, I connected with my peers and asked them what was on their hearts and minds. I asked them if they saw the same challenges and problems that I did. Then, I asked them what they wanted to become as a group. They all told me they wanted to become a collaborative team, be valued as strategic partners, make a positive difference and deliver strong business results.
Based on their thoughts, we crafted the below vision statement:
To win the hearts of our teammates, customers, and consumers and positively influence our company’s future by:
- MOLDING world-class commercial strategies through distinguished collaboration.
- ENABLING exceptional execution that delivers winning results.
- BUILDING an authentic team that trusts one another and takes pride in its work.
- NURTURING and equipping our people to lead in the future.
- CELEBRATING wins frequently to build momentum.
Over time, we embraced the vision, and it made all the difference. The ship turned around. We became a collaborative, thriving team, valued as strategic partners, and delivered outstanding results.
Seven Steps to Develop a Compelling Vision
How do you change the game as we did? Follow our example and apply the below seven steps to develop a compelling vision.
- Start with prayer. I sought God’s insight, wisdom, and discernment on developing a vision.
- Look Inside. My passionate desire was to make our team a destination, a great place to work where people grew, produced superior results, and found meaning in their work. I envisioned a future where we were a collaborative team and considered an indispensable business partner.
- Take ownership. I approached my manager and asked how I could help. I intentionally volunteered so I could shape our team’s future.
- Define the problem. Our division and unproductiveness were a result of no vision; we didn’t know who we wanted to be, to be known for, or to accomplish; all undefined. We needed to become a team and then add value to our business partner, solve problems, inspire superior execution and become a trusted resource.
- Collaboratively develop a solution. Through the interviews, I listened to others, sought common ground, and understood where the team wanted to go. Through this process, the vision became shared among the team members.
- Gain Commitment. Partnering with my manager, I explained why we should pursue the vision and instilled a sense of urgency.
- Tell Stories. Every week, we shared examples of how the vision was being brought to life – allowing the team always to refer back to the bigger picture, share stories – learnings, successes, and failures. This simple act moved the words written on a page to being written on our hearts. The vision became real to us.
I’ll end with one of my favorite vision parables:
Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?”
The 1st says, “I am laying bricks.”
The 2nd says, “I am building a wall.”
And the 3rd says, “I am building a cathedral.”
The 1st bricklayer has a job to do. The 2nd lays bricks for a living. The 3rd has a VISION and builds with purpose.
Which bricklayer are you? Do you aspire to move beyond bricklaying to cathedral building? Do you want to become a visionary leader? Follow the Seven Steps to Develop a Compelling Vision. If you do, you’ll lead well, positively influence your culture and change your world.
Want to discover more about becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
Preston> Read More
The phone rang. I stared at it with anxious anticipation. The call I’d been waiting for would reveal my future with the company. I’d been through several evaluations and interviews to keep my current job. As my heart began racing and sweat beads formed on my brow, I answered the phone.
“Hello, this is Preston.”
“Hi. This is Ted. I’m calling to let you know…”
You may have received a similar call if you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment. And, you’ve experienced the effects of organizational change – uncertainty, layoffs, or downgraded compensation. I’ve been through 10 restructures in my career. I liken the process to running for Congress – every two years, you’re up for re-election. If you’re elected, you begin your next campaign immediately.
The topsy-turvy corporate world can be exasperating and disheartening. It can bring one to utter despair. The challenge is to remain hopeful. You might say, “But Preston, I hear all the time that hope isn’t a strategy.” If hope isn’t a strategy, what is it?
Hope is a general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled, a promise will be kept, or a better future is on the horizon. Hope provides internal energy, motivation, and courage. I’ve heard it said that someone can live 40 days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, and only 4 seconds without hope.  Why is hope such a crucial part of life and your well-being? It energizes and inspires you to keep going. Without hope, you will begin to think circumstances will only get worse and give up.
How does someone avoid despair and remain hopeful amid challenging circumstances? Here are six surefire ways.
- Pray. For the Christian, start with connecting with your source of hope, God. Take your concerns to him and seek his guidance.
- Don’t lose heart. In tough times, continue believing that you can succeed. Think about your past achievements and recount your strengths. The circumstance doesn’t define you. Seek God, and he will strengthen you. Jesus’ words provide confidence, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33b – The Message)
- Manage Self-Talk. Did you know our thoughts shape our beliefs and actions? Our challenge is that 8 out of 10 thoughts we have are negative. Stop listening to the lies you tell yourself and focus on your strengths. Replace the lies with the truth. What would happen if you increased the number of positive thoughts to 5 or 6? How? When self-doubt creeps in and I’m experiencing despair, I’ve found it helpful to pause and say an affirming phrase ten times to myself. It helps change my mindset from negative to positive. For example, instead of saying to yourself, “I’m a weak and unworthy person,” say “I’m a strong and worthy person.” Or, rather than saying “I can’t do anything,” say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Change your “I can’t” to “How can I?” Also, set your mind on constructive thoughts. The Bible says, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8 – The Message). If you do these things, you’ll win the battle of the mind.
- Keep a long-term perspective. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Remind yourself that life is a journey, and challenges are opportunities to grow. The Bible says, “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18 – The Message). Keep your head up, look to the horizon, and expect a positive outcome in the long run.
- Face reality and take responsibility. Accept that life can be backbreaking. Then, objectively evaluate your challenging circumstance and define the problem you face. What’s the worst that can happen? What are all of your options? How can you improve upon the worst? Once you answer these questions, take ownership. Embrace the opportunity to change and intentionally determine to grow through the circumstance. Think, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” As a person of faith, I prescribe to the thought, “work like it’s up to me and trust God like it’s up to him.”
- Plan, act, and persevere. Once you’ve faced reality, taken responsibility, and determined the best option, be intentional and go for it. Put a plan together. Develop goals and move in the direction you’ve chosen. Look for quick wins and build momentum. Above all else, never give up. If you plan, act, and persevere, you’ll begin to experience success. The road ahead will be different than you expected, harder than you anticipated, and potentially more rewarding than you imagined. One of my mentors, John Maxwell, says, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”
Back to my story… I picked up the phone and said, “Hello, this is Preston.”
“Hi. This is Ted. I’m calling to let you know you will be retained by the company.”
I’ve gone through the cycle of uncertainty to certainty many times. As you may recall, I wrote earlier that I’ve been through 10 organization restructures. As I write this article, I’m currently in the midst of my 11th org change. Once again, I’m struggling with all of the self-doubt and uncertainty that comes with the unsettling circumstance. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know that God is faithful, and I’ve placed my hope in him. Whatever does happen, I know that he is good and will lead me to where he wants me.
My friend, when faced with a dire circumstance, my charge to you is to pray, not lose heart, manage self-talk, keep a long-term perspective, face reality and take responsibility, and plan, act, and persevere. If you do, you’ll be filled with hope and succeed in whatever path you choose.
How about you? Where do you place your hope? How do you make it through tough times? I’d love to hear your story. Thanks for reading, and please share this message with someone in need of hope and encouragement.
Want to discover more about becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
 Maxwell, John C., Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, Center Street, Hachette Book Group USA Day One 2013, p. 93.> Read More
I’m a disciple of Christ and an executive at a Fortune 500 Company. In my blog, The Discipled Leader, I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work.
As a certified coach, speaker, and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, I help others grow their relationship with Christ, develop their leadership skills, and understand how they can make a positive difference in today’s chaotic world.
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I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and learn how to develop Christlike character, influence your culture and change your world.