Clearly defining and communicating a clear picture of a desired future that motivates others to take action.


Teams with sound and inspiring missions and visions are more successful. Sound missions and visions motivate and guide people on how to use their time and how to make choices. As important as the vision, mission and strategy might be, communicating and managing them is even more critical.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.Habakkuk 2:2

Skilled Characteristics

  • Vision

    Communicates a compelling and inspired vision or sense of core purpose

  • Future

    Talks beyond today – has an inspiring hope for the future

  • Optimistic

    Talks about and is genuinely excited about possibilities – is optimistic

  • Milestones

    Identifies mileposts (significant accomplishments toward achieving the final vision) to rally support and excitement behind the vision

  • Shares

    Makes the vision sharable by everyone – helps everyone to feel a level of ownership of the overall vision

  • Inspiring

    Can inspire and motivate individuals, teams and entire organizations

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

– Proverbs 29:18

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Lacks Vision

    Does not have a clear vision or purpose, or lacks the ability to communicate it clearly

  • Boring

    Not a good presenter/speaker

  • Not Compelling

    Inability to communicate in such a way as to create a compelling story that people want to be a part of

  • Risk Averse

    Uncomfortable taking risks and starting new or challenging projects

  • Lacks Excitement

    Isn’t charismatic or passionate enough to excite and energize others

  • Complex

    Can’t simplify the vision or strategy enough to help people understand what needs to happen or how the vision will be accomplished

  • Not Collaborative

    Does not work well with others – does not include others in the visioning process or in developing the strategy

  • Unsure

    Doesn’t act like he/she really believes in the vision

  • Present Focused

    More comfortable and focused on the here and now rather than the possibilities of the future

“Where you come from is not nearly as important as where you are going.”

– unknown

Causes of Weakness

  • Complex

    Can’t create and communicate simple messages

  • Fear

    Can’t face conflict, difficulties or differences of opinion

  • Not Adept at Change

    Does not understand change and how to help people successfully change and move toward a better future

  • Inconsistent

    Does not walk the talk – does not act according to what one says

  • Not Committed

    Does not demonstrate a strong commitment to the vision through one’s own actions

  • Presentation Skills

    Poor presentation skills – not interactive, excited or energetic

  • Long Winded

    Talks too much or for too long

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”

– Walter Lippman


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Define the Mission/Vision

    DEFINE THE VISION/MISSION: it should take less than three minutes to explain the mission and vision clearly to an audience. Really effective vision and mission statements are simple, compelling and capable of capturing people’s imagination. Mission statements should help everyone understand how to use their time. They should signal what’s mission-critical and explain what’s rewarded in the organization and what’s not. In addition, create a simple obvious symbol, visual or slogan to make the cause come alive.

  • How to Start

    HOW TO START: Provide everyone in the team or organization with a roadmap on how they are going to be part of something grand and exciting. Establish common cause. Imagine what the change would look like if fully implemented, then describe the outcome often—how things will look in the future. Help people see how their efforts fit in by creating simple, obvious measures of achievement. Be succinct.

  • Manage Change

    MANAGE CHANGE: Most significant vision and mission statements represent a call to change. They require that people are going to have to think, talk and act differently. For that reason, underneath the excitement will be apprehension, anxiety and fear of the unknown. People work harder and are more effective when they have a sense of choice over how they accomplish stretch goals and objectives. Invite multiple approaches, encourage experimentation, and talk with people who have successfully pulled off changes.

  • Walk the Talk

    WALK THE TALK: Many times people listen more to what you do than to what you say. The largest reason change efforts fail is that the leader does not act in line with the new vision and mission. Words are wonderful. Actions are stronger. If you want to be credible, make sure you incorporate the new thinking and behavior into your daily routine.

  • Inspire

    INSPIRE: Missions and visions are meant to motivate. Don’t threaten people. Don’t say this is our last chance. Don’t blame the past. Visions are optimistic, inspirational, and about possibilities. Paint a positive, ‘we can do it’ picture. You have to get people to see what you see. It is all about how to present well and motivate. Always rehearse what you are going to say. Watch yourself on video. Would you understand and be motivated?

  • Anticipate Reactions

    ANTICIPATE REACTIONS: Anticipate what questions people might ask you. What are their objections or concerns likely to be? How will you answer them?