Your Leadership Vision: A Book Excerpt

Leadership Vision

I am pleased to welcome author Paul Larsen, who is sharing an excerpt of his new book, Find Your Voice as a Leader.

Your Leadership Vision

Compelling visions have always revolutionized the world. Be it Bill Gates’s dream of creating Microsoft or Mark Zuckerberg’s concept of Facebook, a vision defines you and determines your success. To be a leader, clarity of vision is essential. Without a clear vision with clear objectives, you’re likely to end up where you started.

Creating a new vision takes commitment and discipline. Here are a few techniques that might help:

Where do you see yourself? Before setting a vision, ask yourself this fundamental question. What do you want to achieve? How? Is the vision attainable? Is your goal congruent with the organizational goal?

  • Break it down into smaller targets. If your objective is clear, this is the next step. Analyze your resources and team composition. Divide your vision into small-term and achievable (periodic) targets.
  • Think critically. Your vision will define you, your organization, and your team. So look before you leap. Consider all the variables. Brainstorm. Discuss new ideas with your team, and evaluate their feedback before working out a proper strategic plan.
  • Ask for help. There’s no harm in that. Say you want to launch a new product line in the market. Conducting market research and seeking the advice of market experts beforehand helps.
  • Maintain your integrity. No matter what vision you set, NEVER compromise on honesty and objectivity. Your organization is unlikely to thrive, and your team is likely to be disgruntled if your vision violates the basic principles of integrity.

Consider these ideas before you create your vision and outcomes, and test as many as you can. Additionally, you could think about a time you weren’t successful with your outcomes. Why not? Then think about a time you were successful with your outcomes. Why were you successful? Review your thoughts and discuss them with other team members. Together, you’ll create the best vision and outcomes for your organization.

Remember that negative begets negative and positive begets positive. Most importantly, realistic begets realistic. Aspirational is good, while realistic is better. When you create positive, realistic outcomes, you’re ensured a greater chance of success.

Your Goals And Outcomes Can Change (And Should).

Organizations change. Your life changes. Things happen— sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected. You need to be able to evolve, to bend, to be flexible. Yet you still need to keep your eyes on your targets, your goals, and your outcomes. And you always need to measure your progress toward your vision, as well as to measure your results.

Charting your outcomes on an Outcome Map enables you to keep track of your advancement toward your desired end results, no matter what challenges you face. As you find your voice in whatever role you play, charting your outcomes aligned to your values is critical in moving from intention to action.


Paul NLeadership Vision. Larsen, MA, CPPC, is a Certified Professional Performance Coach and an experienced leadership consultant and speaker. He has over 30 years’ business experience with executive and senior-level responsibilities within small and large companies, including being the Chief Human Resources Officer for a $3 billion organization. Paul partners with industry-wide leaders and teams from Fortune 100, start-up, and high-tech environments to find their unique leadership “VOICE” and create compelling and purposeful outcomes for their organizations. He has a proven track record with organizations such as SAP, Electronic Arts, Twitter, and Walmart.  Read more about Paul and his latest book, Finding Your VOICE as a Leader at


Five Friday Highlights: Powerful Women and Leaning in Together

“Women are good for business” is the lead sentence in one of today’s highlighted articles. Of course they are! However, the path for powerful women (i.e., ALL women) to contribute their talents, energies, and intellect can still be rocky. This week, a look at the role of creativity in STEM education, and then a look at how creativity is being applied to open doors for women. To close things out, a post with thoughts on balance once the doors have been opened and the women are fully exerting their power in the workplace. What happens at home?

Much of my work is in technical industries, so I encounter women who utilize STEM skills routinely as part of their work. I agree with The Importance of Adding an “A” for Art + Design to the Famous Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Acronym in Sharp Heels. Young women (and men!) who are receiving a STEM-centric education still need to have their creativity nurtured and encouraged. As the article’s closing line states, “you can’t have science that truly means something to the mass of humanity if it lacks art, or art without some aspect of science.”

I was fascinated to read in Empowering Women Veteran Entrepreneurs from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that the number of veteran women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased by nearly 300% since 2007! The SBA’s efforts on behalf of women veteran entrepreneurs includes resources such as loan programs, technical assistance, and V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), a three-phase program which “enables women veterans to find their passion and learn business-savvy skills to turn ideas or businesses into growth ventures.”

Why isn’t there more female participation in the workforce? asks Want Double-Digit Growth? Hire Women from Fortune Magazine. As the piece outlines, a report from Citi’s Global Perspectives and Solutions reveals two reasons: policies and the outcome of these restrictive policies. Take the time to read the report; its insights are thought-provoking.

“This new era of women’s leadership development is no longer about struggle but rather about focus and balance” claims Louise A. Korver for Talent Management in Best Practices for a Different Kind of Women’s Leadership. Of the seventeen suggested best practices, two that stand out to me are “focus on career development” and “get women on boards.” Which of the seventeen do you think would have the most impact? (Tweet me at @melissa_lamson1 to let me know!)

Even once we women put together the intelligence, strategy, and communication skills to contribute our substantial assets to the world, we still have “home.” After all that Leaning In, how do we create an equitable distribution of time and energy to those who matter most? As the people quoted in Mark Zuckerberg Posts Baby Picture to Encourage  Active, Loving Fathers from Mashable, perhaps the Lean In equation needs an addition: TOGETHER. Read the #LeanInTogether quotes from high-powered businesspeople and tell me what you think!

Once women are fully exerting their power at work, how can families #LeanInTogether at home? {TWEET THIS}

Image Credit: Fotolia Sergey Nivens