Looking Both Ways
Small cutthroat trout scurried about the shallows of the gin clear mountain stream fighting for their next meal. At the edge of an eddy sat a very large trout. She rose, at her rhythm, sipping a grasshopper here or a beetle there. I lifted my fly rod to cast my terrestrial fly upstream of the big fish. Suddenly my line was tight, but it was not attached to my quested fish. It was tangled in the mass of reeds behind me. Had I looked back before I cast, I would have realized I needed to move only one step more into the stream and my cast would have missed the reeds and could have landed nearer my target and, with some luck, a trophy trout on my line. Instead I watched this opportunity slip away as the big fish faded into the deep pool.
Leaders cast visions. There are many things a leader can and should delegate, but vision casting is not one of those things. Depending on your level of responsibility you are expected to cast bigger or smaller visions, but cast you must. Effective vision casters are constantly looking backward, attending to the products and processes of the past and present, while also looking forward to hook and land the opportunities that will define the future.
Vision casting is not about you. Vision casters are not be confused with idea pitchers. Those loud pontificators who dominate conversations with an unending supply of tangled up thoughts that divert the attention to their personal agenda rather than the benefit of the team. They also tend to take themselves way too seriously.
Vision casting is challenging. It is not surprising that smart people with well thought out ideas often stand on the edge of effective leadership , their toes barely in the stream of success as they imagine the terrible tangles that might happen if they made a bold move. All they need to remember is to not get hooked into the needy reeds of the idea pitchers, present a smooth cast and wish for luck. The big one might not be landed on the first cast, but no fish was ever caught without a line in the water. The best anglers and leaders practice their casting a plenty, make looking both ways a habit and set the hook when the time is right.
Journal Entry: If you have been hesitant to cast your big goal or vision for your business, career or family ? This month’s name is symbolic of the time to make this kind of wise move.
January was named by the early Romans, after Janus, the god of doors and gates. This Roman god had two sets of eyes-one pair focusing on what lay behind, the other on what lay ahead.
What vision do you need to cast now to make the future better for the people in your leadership and life?
To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone. a backbone and a funny bone. – Reba Mcentire
The job of leadership today is not just to make money. it is to make meaning. – John Seely Brown
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, or to be hasty and miss the way. – Proverbs 19:2