Most leaders understand the vital importance of casting a compelling vision. But is it possible that you have slipped from the casting of visions to the mere making of public relation announcements?
A p.r. announcement is not the same as a vision. And if you have missed the leadership mark by simply making such announcements, your team or organization will stall.
But you can elevate your communication back up to the level of true vision-casting by applying these three vital distinctions…
1. Make sure your goal is direction, not popularity
The goal of a compelling vision is to paint a crystal-clear picture of a bright future.
P.R. announcements, on the other hand, are chiefly focused on building a favorable image for the leader or the organization. They attempt to win public support by promising to do all sorts of good things.
If your goal is public adulation, you are no longer casting vision.
2. Save your best communications for your own organization
A compelling vision is aimed at your own team or organization. This is where your primary leadership energy should always be directed.
P.R. announcements, however, target an audience lying beyond your own constituents.
In some cases, it is necessary to keep the broader public somewhat informed as to the activities of your organization. But even then, don’t just talk about what you plan to do. Talk about what you already did.
3. Make your people the heroes
When the best leaders cast vision, they inspire their people by telling them that the bright future being envisioned can only happen through the ongoing, heroic efforts of each of them.
Public relation announcement-focused leaders, however, tend to make everything about themselves. Even if they don’t come right out and say it, the underlying message comes across as, “Thanks to me, all of these good things are about to happen…”
So each time you are preparing to communicate, ask these questions:
1. Is the goal to inspire our team, or to simply curry favor?
2. Am I focused on my team, or on those well beyond our constituency?
3. Do I hope to build up the team, or me?
In a world obsessed with image, and fueled by social media, the compulsion to make self-promoting announcements can be almost irresistible. But to be a leader worth following, you must rise above being a mere announcement-maker.
You must re-claim the mantel of being a communicator of a compelling vision.