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Why not? Those two words hold a lot of power. For example, why not earn a master’s degree? Why not get married? Why not cook with olive oil?

So when was the last time you asked yourself, “why not” when it comes to defining your leadership vision? In case you need a refresher, one’s leadership vision is widely considered as the cornerstone of leadership. Leaders must generate ideas to improve processes or products that keep the organization competitive. They must be able to articulate their vision in concrete terms in order to explain it to others and obtain their cooperation and enthusiasm.

Being a leader isn’t simply about providing direction and advice, it’s about moving the organization confidently into the future. The bigger picture isn’t a vague piece of business jargon, but rather something you keep in mind at all times. You also must explain it clearly so others know where their activities fit within the overall direction for change.

If your leadership vision is cloudy, you may not be focused adequately on the issues and ideas that will move your group or organization into the future. You may have a difficult time explaining clearly and concisely what the organization must do to improve its competitive position in the marketplace. Or you may be so focused on the “here and now” that you neglect to keep the big picture in mind.

Leadership vision isn’t a mission statement; it’s bigger than that. It’s about risk-taking and demonstrating confidence in your ideas and inspiring others to follow your lead. It’s crucial that you are willing to try new things, make new rules, and learn from your mistakes.

Here’s our advice to help relieve any cloudy leadership vision:

  • Make sure you understand your organization and its products and services thoroughly. As you review your knowledge, focus on gaps in services or products that you notice, and allow yourself to visualize how to fill in the gaps.
  • Create an “elevator message” as part of your plan to communicate your vision. This is a colorful story, metaphor, or saying that captures the essence of your vision and can be conveyed in less than 30 seconds.
  • Go to the websites of the Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Fast Company to learn about the strategies other organizations have implemented to enhance their competitive position.
  • Challenge your employees to find ways of improving business and work
  • processes. Use various forums (e.g., staff meetings, private conversations, performance plans) to stimulate and reinforce the need to make continuous improvements.
  • Look at your current and future goals. Then identify the barriers or potential barriers to achieving or exceeding those goals. Identify the one or two changes that would have the greatest impact on these goals.

Remember, when considering alternatives, instead of “why?” ask yourself and others “why not?” It will not only improve your leadership effectiveness, it will make life that much more fun.