The Big Idea
Without vision, you are operating blindly.
Questions I Answer
- How can I be more strategic in my business?
- How do I create a 5 year plan?
- How do I get my team aligned?
- How can I make more strategic decisions?
Actions to Take
- Pick up a copy of my book, The Joy of Missing Out, to learn more about where to start and what to work on to get you closer to your North Star and vision.
Key Topics in the Show
The importance of having a greater, more impactful vision of the future in mind (and how it can help you stay on track toward your goals)
Incorporating the elements of farsightedness and nearsightedness into your life in a harmonious way, and how switching between different perspectives as a leader is important
How to communicate your vision to others and invite them to be a part of the journey
How to share ideas with your team to make your vision for your business or career more attainable
Resources and Links
- Related Episodes: 170: How to Be a Better Leader at Work and Beyond
This is Productivity Paradox with your host, Tonya Dalton and entrepreneur, best
selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert and mom of two. This
season is all about leading with confidence, Tonya, shifting mindsets, redefining
productivity, and equipping women with the strategies you need to step into
intentional leadership. Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tonya Dalton.
Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tonya Dalton,
and this is episode 174 this season is all about leading with confidence and today I
want to talk about leading with vision, but what does that mean exactly?
You know, we talked earlier this season in episode 170 we had a conversation where
we talked about becoming a better leader and since that episode aired, I’ve received
a great number of DMs and so many emails from a lot of you who are feeling more
optimistic and even more excited to learn about how to build up these leadership
qualities. And I love it. I love it. You guys are resonating so strongly with this season
because I’ve been really excited about it. It makes me so happy to hear because I
want you to start embracing the inner leader more and more. It’s there inside of you.
It’s just a matter of doing a few things to get it out there because I truly believe we
are about to see a great opportunity open up for more and more women to enter
into leadership, into the business world and even into our personal spaces. And I
cannot wait to see how this unfolds. I really can’t.
So a lot of you’ve been asking beyond keeping yourself on track and on top of your
goals by having a really great foundation and a really solid North star in place. What
does it mean when we say that a leader is someone who leads themselves and those
around them with vision? In other words, is figuring out your personal North star. Is
that enough to truly embody what it means to lead with vision or is there maybe a
little more to the puzzle? That’s what I want to dive into today. What it means to lead
with vision and why it’s important. And then I want to explore some ways that we
can go about practicing it each and every day so we can become truly effective
leaders that the world needs to see more of.
All right, so let’s dig in, now just for a little bit of a refresh. When we say that an
effective leader is someone who always has a vision in mind, what we’re basically
saying is there a person with direction, with some sort of destination in mind, and
this acts as a focal point that’s constantly pushing them to move in the same forward
direction. It’s not about moving, it’s moving with intention in that same forward
direction, knowing where it is you want to go and where you want your team to go
All of you working together to get to that destination, you’re looking for that vision.
You see your vision, it gives you the courage to step off that same old path that
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you’ve been on that’s not really taking you where you want to go to blaze your own
trail. Your vision is very similar to your North star in that it gives you a sense of
direction, especially when you find yourself, you know, turning in circles, unsure of
what to work on. I share that story in my book, the joy of missing out about how I
actually had a moment where I was literally turning in circles, unsure of where to
Well, your North star tells you where to start and so does your vision or really, I like to
separate mine a bit by actually calling it my purpose statement because I don’t want
to get it confused with our vision statement, which is part of our North star. It’s really
your purpose statement, especially when it comes to your business. Now your
purpose statement is one sentence that encompasses the overall three parts of the
North star, the mission, the vision, and the core values. So where your North star is
motivational, your purpose statement is aspirational. It’s not a goal, it’s bigger. It’s a
statement, soo bold that it’s either impossible to reach or really, really difficult. It
seems huge and really far-reaching. And what’s great about this is that it allows you
to continually shift and evolve and grow while you’re working towards this greater
purpose, this bigger purpose that you’re wanting to get towards.
So it might help for me to share my while we’ve been, you know, sheltering at home.
This has been something I’ve really been diving into a lot for myself and really honing
in what I feel my purpose statement is and here’s what it is. I think it’s going to help
you to hear it. My purpose statement is “Equipping women with the knowledge and
the tools to confidently step into intentional leadership while working to create a
world where they are seen and treated as equals.” That is my purpose statement.
That is what I am working towards. So I’m hoping that helps give you an idea of how
it’s different than your North star.
Having this, this greater, bigger purpose. It helps you rise up and it helps you recover
a little bit easier on those days where you feel stuck or you feel like you know
nothing’s going to change for whatever reason. We’ve all had days like that. We’ve all
experienced these dips in our motivation or inspiration. We just don’t want to get up
off the couch or to get up out of our own way. I think it’s fairly common is especially
when there’s a pandemic going on, but truly, even when there’s not, I experienced
days like this and I know you do too. It’s okay that you do, but it does help to have this
greater, bigger vision ahead of you so you feel like, okay, this is why I’m getting up off
the couch. This is why I’m going to keep moving forward because here’s the thing.
Even when you’re on the right path, we’re going to veer off. Sometimes we are
because we’re humans. You know we’re going to have detours on our journey, every
single one of us, and this is why having that vision, that big destination, having that
in place is so important. Your vision is part of your why. It’s your reason for getting
out of bed, for taking the steps to change your life for the better because it allows
you to truly see a bigger, better, brighter future. And to see that it really is possible.
You know, without vision we run the risk of moving through life in the dark or worse,
the likelihood that we won’t move in any direction at all, that we’ll stay stuck in a rut
or whatever we want to call it.
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So having this vision in mind really does help. And most successful and effective
leaders that I’ve come across are those who have a firm understanding of how
important it is to really develop and maintain a vision for themselves in the world. So
I want you to remember that we want this thing that’s going to give us hope when
all other hope may feel like it’s lost. That’s what’s going to drive us to step into
leadership. That’s what’s going to draw people to us like a lightning rod. You know, so
often we are drawn to these visionary leaders when we find them. We’re drawn to
these people because they’re able to articulate a possible future in a way that truly
speaks not only to themselves, but speaks to us, and it maybe even includes us as
well, leaders with a clear vision of a better future. They use that to guide them to
hopefulness, to guide us to hopefulness and also to a sense of purpose as well.
I mean, think about visionary leaders. You know, JFK, that’s a great one to talk about.
You know, think about how he described the moonshot. Talk about something that
felt like an impossibility at the time. Getting a man on the moon, crazy town. I mean,
think about it. He goes and stands in front of all these people and talks about
getting a man on the moon when that is, I mean, it’s so far out of the realm of reality
at the time, but here’s what he did. He explained it clearly and simply if you think
about that speech, it’s a really famous speech. It’s truly simple.
First, he set a deadline. The deadline was before the decade is out. Then he made the
goal clear and easy. He said, landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to
earth, so it wasn’t just getting a man on the moon, it was also returning him safely to
earth. There’s two parts to that and then as he closed it up, he shared why it was
important and he got other people on board with this idea. He got them to visualize
what that looks like and then he got them fired up and excited.
All these people got behind them and they all moved in a forward direction to get a
man on the moon and I think you and I both know, spoiler alert, we did it. We made
that impossibility happen. Do you see what we want, and what we really need more
of are people who look beyond today. We want people that give us that sense that
there is a master plan to carry us through whatever short term trials or setbacks that
come our way. It’s that hope that we cling to each time we vote a new person in
office. It’s an element that we search for in the people that we consider working for
and it’s something we think about when we’re looking for products to buy.
We are attracted to people with strong positive visions of the future and what that
might bring. When leaders focus on only the current crisis or on whatever is directly
in front of them, it conveys this message that they’re only interested in maintaining
the status quo. You know, let’s say it’s protecting themselves or their own interest.
They’re more interested in that than creating a successful future. In effect, these
people who have this really myopic vision of just looking right now is today they’re
not really viewed as leaders. They’re viewed as managers. They manage, but their
short-sightedness prevents them from doing anything to really contribute in a way
that drives that momentum necessary. Now, I’m not saying if your job title is being a
© Productivity Paradox Page 3 of 8
manager that you’re shortsighted. I’m just saying you can be a manager and a
leader. It really is about looking beyond today and that short-sightedness and
looking out to tomorrow.
Just recently, I was actually lucky enough to be a part of a small group to meet with
Charlene Li. Now she consults billion-dollar companies on disruption and how you
create disruption and how you overcome crisis kind of like what we’re in right now
with the pandemic and here’s her advice. I thought it was really, really good. She said,
“You want to be a company that makes ways you want to survive when the market
seems unstable. Think not about your current customer, but your future customer
and their needs,” your future customer… These aren’t necessarily two different
people, your customer now and the customer in the future. It’s just that the future
customer’s needs are different than what they are today. Anticipating those needs in
thinking forward. Here’s the thing, we want to think about what the needs are going
to be as we move into tomorrow and beyond and next week and next month and
next decade. When we lead with vision, when we operate with that clear and
compelling message in mind, we have an even greater opportunity to leverage the
success we want, and this is especially true in business. It’s true in all forms of
leadership, but you’ll see it a lot in business.
Let me give you a quick example. Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs totally understood
importance of leading with vision. It’s why he was able to take the Macintosh
computer that launched in an industry that seemed impossible. Hmm. Seems
familiar, right? It seems kind of like that moonshot we talked about, but here’s the
thing. Steve Jobs envisioned home computing when no one thought customers
would ever need that ever. I mean, it’s laughable now, but the other companies in
the computing industry thought no one would ever want a computer in their
homes. I know it’s nuts because here we are walking around with basically
computers in our pockets every day, but what Steve Jobs did is he looked for the
future customer. He looked forward until his vision of making computers user-
friendly, making them accessible and available to the masses became a reality and
obviously that’s become ours as well. You see a clear and intriguing vision provides
focus for people’s decisions and their actions and it truly can promote that sense of
tribe, that sense of family, that sense of membership and belonging that so many of
us by motivating and truly we find it necessary as well.
So here’s the big question. How can we start to lead with vision ourselves? That’s
what I want to dive into next. But before I do, I want to take our mid-episode break
really quick. This week’s episode has been brought to you by inkWELL Press.
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everything that we talk about here on the show and that makes it even easier for you
to step into the leadership we’re talking about here.
© Productivity Paradox Page 4 of 8
That’s really what I want for you because if you’ve listened to me for any time, you
know how strongly I believe in making planning personal, and I’ve brought that to
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Alright, let’s get back to our topic for today of leading with vision. And I want to recap
a little bit of what we’ve learned because well, for one thing, leading with vision
means that we are incorporating more and more of that element, a far-sightedness
in our lives. I like that term, far-sightedness. Like looking really far into the future. So
let’s focus on how we can do that. Remember, a far-sighted leader is one that
maintains a positive, meaningful, vision of the future. Regardless of what context
we’re talking about, business, personal life or otherwise, anywhere, right? And they,
their vision and their ideas to others and that works to include them by inviting
those other people to participate in the journey as well. Giving that sense of
belonging, giving that sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself. And
we’ve talked a lot about envisioning the future and creating that North star. We talk
about it here in the book. We talk about it in my programs and in the courses. So
instead I want to bring your attention to the point that many of us get hung up on.
That is the communication aspect of bringing that vision to light. Because here’s the
thing, if you have a vision and you’re not really sharing it with others, it’s not doing
you or them any good. I want you to feel confident to let that vision shine, to have it
act as a beacon for other people. And if right now you’re not someone that views
yourself as a leader, then stepping out of your comfort zone to embrace some of
these leadership qualities we’re talking about. You know, being more outward-facing
and more communicative of your ideas, that can feel, well, I think the word daunting
doesn’t even encompass it, does it? I mean, it’s downright frightening. And I get that.
I really do. For people who already feel like I’ve got leadership qualities, it’s a little bit
easier, but even then, it’s not the easiest thing to go out and just let your vision guide
the way. Because some people they do, they scoff when leaders share big, bold ideas
and imaginative visions or, or what maybe even seems like impossible dreams, you
know, like a moonshot. And so a lot of times it’s this fear of being mocked, for sharing
our ideas. That’s what keeps us from following through.
And here’s the thing I want you to remember, every time you back down from
sharing your vision with those around you, it’s these same very bold ideas, the
imagination and dreams that are the fabric of truly positive, truly effective, and truly
successful leaders. This is what they weave together to create the future and change
the world after all, can you imagine what it would be like if Steve Jobs had let the
people laughing at him affect him and not shared his vision of the computer?
Or let’s take it back even further. Where might we be if Henry Ford never shared his
vision for the model T? I mean that completely changed the entire transportation
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industry. Henry Ford is a perfect example of someone with a future customer in
mind. There’s a quote that’s attributed to him where he says, “If I’d asked people
what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” And it’s true. Most people
didn’t think that type of transportation would be possible. Ford looked beyond the
horizon and thought, what next? What can we do here? You know, Steve Jobs, Henry
Ford, both these men were considered crazy and they first shared their vision of the
future, but they pushed on anyway, and they made the decision to believe and invest
in as leaders along the way. They did it despite what other people said.
So when it comes to sharing your own vision of a better future, start small. If you’re
feeling a little bit uneasy, there’s nothing wrong with just looking at the people you
know around you, the people who are already a part of your support system. Maybe
in a community like my Facebook group or even on your teams at work or your
family members. And here’s the thing too… It’s okay if not everybody buys in. Not
everybody is going to get behind you. Not everybody’s going to love your vision and
that is okay if it’s something you truly believe in. I want to encourage you to stand
tall. Stand confidently. I mean like hands on your hips, feet apart, confidence, maybe
not physically, but just in your mind at least.
So if you have a vision for the future, for your business, share it with your team, share
it with your business coach, share it with your network. Or if you don’t own your
business, it’s likely you still have a lot of great ideas that will make things better in the
future of the company that you do work for. So don’t shy away from making your
ideas known there either. We don’t want to Jerry Maguire ourselves out of a job, but
we can take opportunities to speak up and look beyond today. Take the opportunity
to speak up during meetings or if there’s brainstorming sessions, raise your hand
from time to time, your ideas, your vision has merit. It has value and I want to
encourage you to remind yourself of that. I know from experience how valuable it is
bouncing around ideas with my team. The more feedback and the more ideas that
we have floating around, the easier it is to uncover those ones that are going to
propel us towards the success that we want as a company, as a group and I promise
a leader worth working for is one that appreciates input from everybody on board,
not just themselves.
I’m always telling my team, if you just blindly agree with everything I throw out as an
idea, you’re not doing me any good. You’re certainly not doing the company any
good. I want my team to push back. I want them to feel confident to toss out an idea
or their versions of what we can do better. It’s through sharing of ideas with others
that we’re able to really gain feedback necessary to make the vision even better and
more attainable, even more important. Right? And truly that idea of what’s
attainable is kind of the name of the game because we want to work towards
something big, maybe something impossible that feels like it’s really, really far away.
We want to get there closer step-by-step, and the way to really do this is as we talked
about embracing the farsightedness but also remembering the nearsightedness
from a leadership perspective.
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So the ability to see both the forest and the different trees, both of those are what’s
going to make your vision possible because yes, leading with vision is very much
rooted in the ability to maintain a positive image of what the future is going to look
like, but we still have to remember an effective leader is also capable of pivoting and
shifting around some of the smaller picture stuff as well. We don’t want to be so far
looking ahead that we trip over the rocks right in front of us, right? So to be the
inspirational, effective, successful leader that the world needs to see, we have to be
able to switch to these different modes of seeing. If you think about it, it’s kind of like
walking around with a telescope and a microscope. We need both on our journey to
success. Our telescope is what keeps us and our team. It keeps our eyes on the vision
on the North star, on the big picture, while the microscope that helps us zoom in on
the little things that we need to do short term in the here and now to really see it
If we only bring our telescope, we overlook the necessary steps. We need to take
those dreams to take that vision into fruition. And if we only have a microscope, we
may find that we’re working hard every day but likely discouraged or frustrated
because of the everyday challenges and we don’t see the path that we’re on the
bigger picture. That makes it difficult to want to lead. So truly to lead with vision and
to become the leader that I know we all can be. We need to keep both the short and
the long term perspectives in mind. We need to frequently pull out our telescopes,
remind ourselves and our team of where we’re heading, and then we need to pull up
that microscope and help us focus on what matters most to see us through our
commitments and together both of those tools, those are going to help you take you
where you want to go. Vision isn’t just seeing the longterm. It’s also seeing what’s
right in front of us at the same time.
Okay. I want to go over a couple of action items because here’s what I want. I don’t
want you just to listen to this episode. Go, yes, this sounds great. I’d love to be a
leader and then I don’t know what to do and you don’t ever follow through, so I’m
going to try doing something new today. I’m going to give you some action items,
some things that you can do to help you on your journey to be leading with vision.
Are you ready? All right. First thing. I want you to be able to clearly communicate
your vision. So you’ve heard of a vision board, right? What’s the purpose of the vision
board? Well, it’s to think beyond right in front of you, but what I want you to do is I
want you to think beyond this year, I want you to create an image or a collage of
images that convey a bigger vision of like five years, 10 years, 20 years, even maybe a
hundred years down the road. You know, it’s really helpful too, if you’re feeling
uncertain about what that vision may be, flipping through catalogs and a magazine
with the intention of thinking forward, you’ll find that some of the things on the
page may speak to you or tug a little bit. Pay attention to your intuition. See what’s
drawing you in. Don’t act like that’s a silly thing. You got to pay attention to what
your brain is triggering you. Okay? So first thing you can do as your action item is
create a vision bigger than this year. Make a collage. Make an illustration, do an
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image. Whatever you want to make. It’s up to you. Just make sure that it feels
aligned with what you really want. Okay?
Action item number two, who are some of the leaders that you look to? Maybe it’s a
mentor or a friend or a colleague. Maybe it’s a businesswoman or a speaker that you
don’t even know, but you look up to. What are the qualities that they have that draw
you in and get you inspired and fired up and motivated? I want to encourage you to
think about that and you know what? Let’s go beyond that. I don’t want you to just
think about that throughout the season. I want to encourage you to share some of
the qualities that you’re drawn to in leaders – in my Facebook group. So I want to
keep this conversation going and I want to start holding each other accountable to
embrace these things in ourselves that are going to be helping us drive us to be
better effective leaders.
So action item number two is to think about what those qualities are and then share
them. Head on over to my Facebook group. Go to tonyadalton.com/group, join us.
Let’s have a conversation. Let’s hold each other accountable. Let’s get excited about
this because here’s the thing, being a leader doesn’t have to be scary, especially if
we’re doing it together. So think about those leadership qualities and then head on
over to my Facebook group, or you know what? Head on over my Facebook group
first, see what qualities we are talking about in there, and then just join the
conversation. Easy, easy. All right?
Okay, so that’s two things you can do this week before we head into next week’s
episode where I have a fabulous guest coming on the show. I’m really excited for you
to hear everything that she’s going to share. She’s my own personal mentor and I’m
excited to share her with you. So until next time, have a beautiful, fabulous, amazing