Lead From Vision


Vision is an empowering tool if utilized properly by leaders and can propel an individual from being an average leader to being a great leader (Malaska and Holstius, 1999, p. 356). Vision not only has the potential to increase a leader’s value, but also holds the key for organizations to maintain a competitive advantage in the changing business climate (Bennis and Townsend, 1995). For these reasons, it is imperative leaders learn to cast compelling vision and increase their visionary capacity to create a social architecture that is capable of adding value (Bennis and Townsend, 1995).

The Vision

Morden (1997) defines vision as an organized perception or phenomenon (p. 668), while Malaska and Holstius (1999) define vision as an entrepreneurial perception which reveals and points to something new seeing beyond the current situation to an emerging future that is forming or being invented (p. 356) The essence of a vision is an imagined, or perceived, pattern of possibilities which others are drawn to through enthusiasm and momentum imparted from the leader owning the vision. (Morden, 1997, p. 668) An effective vision communicates to followers through the use of language followers understand, and compels people to be proactive in their buy-in (Malaska and Holstius, 356). Effective visions use three human faculties: thoughts, emotions, and willpower of the leader casting vision that will connect and compel the thoughts, emotions, and willpower of the followers who are expected to buy-in to the vision (Malaska and Holstius, p. 357). The clear communication of vision is vital to the health and growth of an organization, thus it would seem the quality of the leader casting the vision is equally vital.

The Leader

Warrne Bennis defines leadership in terms of the capacity to create a compelling vision, translate that vision into action, and to sustain it (Bennis and Nanus, 1985). Casting a compelling vision is not simply a leadership skill, but it is a vitally necessity to offer a vision that followers can believe in and adopt as their own (Mordon, 1997, p. 668). A leader capable of casting such a vision must possess a holistically operating mind (Turner and Trompenaars, 1994) that does not simply draw logical conclusions from the array of facts, but rather can see clearly the future with promise, energy, and hope (p. 341-342). A leader who can cast such a vivid picture of the future is required to be willing to be open, have caring relationships with followers, and provide face-to-face communication; without the ability to communicate with such a convincing approach, leaders will not be successful (Tichy and Sherman, 1994, p. 248).


The future belongs to organizations that have the skill, speed, and dexterity that only come from an emotionally energized work force (Tichy and Sherman, 1994, p. 73) motivated by an ambitious reframing of a step-by-step journey into the future (Malaska and Holstius, 1999, p. 358). Leaders who can communicate with such effectiveness have the potential to be great leaders leading great organizations.


Bennis, W. G., & Nanus, B. (2007). Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge (2nd edition). New York, NY: HarperBusiness.

Bennis, W. G., & Townsend, R. (2005). Reinventing Leadership: Strategies to Empower the Organization (Reprint edition). New York, NY: HarperBusiness.

Malaska, P., & Holstius, K. (1999). Visionary management. Foresight, 1(4), 353–361. http://doi.org/10.1108/14636689910802269

Tichy, N. M., & Sherman, S. (2005). Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will (Reprint edition). New York, NY: HarperBus.

Tony Morden. (1997). Leadership as vision. Management Decision, 35(9), 668–676. http://doi.org/10.1108/00251749710186504

Turner, C. H., & Trompenaars, A. (1993). The Seven Cultures of Capitalism: Value Systems for Creating Wealth in the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands (1st edition). New York: Doubleday Business.

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