Visionary Leadership - Part 1

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I exited college like many – without a job.

The custom at the time, which I believe is still being upheld, was to retreat to the basement of my parents' home. So I did.

I wasn't a deadbeat though. In fact, I've always been a hard worker and an optimist. (I'm only allergic to bee stings and negativity. If I have to choose, I pick bee stings.) Until I landed a job, I considered my dad to be my employer and fixing up his house to be my project.

I decided to start with the terraced flower boxes I had promised to build for my Mom before she passed away a few years prior. But I needed an assistant. I contacted my buddy, Karl, who was also gainfully unemployed. He said no. His excuse (or "sales objections" for you Sales Caffeine readers) was that it was too far to drive and he was too out of shape.

That wasn't good enough for me. I emailed him a drawing of the terraced flower boxes and included the promise I made to my mother. I told him how we'd build them, how long it would take, how beautiful they'd look, and how great the beer and pizza would taste when we sat in the shade of my dad's maple trees enjoying the finished product.

He came.

The flower boxes turned out fantastic.

He took pictures to show friends.

He ate lots of pizza and drank lots of beer.

Before he left, he looked me dead in the eye and said, "Dude, after your email, I would have driven from California to build this thing!"

Though I already instinctively knew it to be true, Karl's words helped crystallize a major lesson in leadership. It's one everyone in business needs to know. And in the new economy, where innovation dominates, it's become a prerequisite for success.

People follow leaders who can conceive and clearly communicate a compelling vision.

Visionary leaders awaken hope and excitement. The promise of their vision prompts investment. And like the Pied Piper, it inspires all who hear to join the march. A powerful vision leverages action.

When you learn to convey such a vision, you get your way.

(Caveat: No one follows a selfish, foolish, or hateful visionary for long. In the end, the goals of such a person always end in ruin.)

Visionary leadership wins presidential elections, closes million dollar deals, overthrows regimes, and sells 40 million iPads.

It also helps you accomplish less grandiose achievements, like getting everyday proposals signed, your manager's buy-in, a first round of investment, your kids' good behavior, and your spouse to OK a vacation in the mountains over the beach.

Ever wonder why no one follows you or invests in your ideas?

Learn how to conceive and clearly communicate a vision that resonates and they will dance behind you wherever you lead.

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Look for my follow up Sales Caffeine article in three weeks titled, "Visionary Leadership - Part 2" that addresses how to conceive and communicate a vision that prompts investment and action.