The Vision of Great Leaders
All great leaders have a vision.
- Martin Luther King saw a world of equality regardless of your race, color, or creed
- Steve jobs had a vision to put a computer in the hands of EVERYONE
- The Founding Fathers had a vision for a new nation
- Even Bob Dylan had visions of Johanna
Okay, I may have gotten a little carried away with that last one, but the fact of the matter remains - all great leaders have a vision, and that vision becomes the driving force behind all their work.
Eduardo Carrera also has a vision. He sees the Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR) positively affecting the lives of every boy and girl in Puerto Rico. This is a vision that is shared from the president of the organization all the way down to the front line employees and volunteers.
By relentlessly preaching that vision, they have cultivated the motivation and buy-in that has helped the organization grow to 11 clubs serving over 11,000 young people annually. However, this growth and forward progress wasn’t always the norm. In previous years, they struggled just to stay afloat and remain relevant in the lives of the Puerto Rican kids. He compared this stagnation to being in a room and having the windows open while it was raining. The water just kept pouring in while they did everything possible with the buckets they had to throw it back out. SEE THEIR VIDEO HERE.
For so long, they could only see in the short-term and by operating under this approach, they were only able to scoop enough water out of the room to keep from drowning. They needed a new direction. A purpose. A vision. A reason for being that was inspiring and so large that it could only be long-term.
Their leader made this new vision very clear to all employees, volunteers, and even the kids. They were going to reach ALL of the roughly 1 million kids on the island. It was this vision that has helped them continue to grow, continue to stretch themselves, and continue to save the lives of Puerto Rican boys and girls. Whew - now that is a vision.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that a vision isn’t just what you are trying to accomplish in the next one, two, or even three years. It’s much greater than that. Take another look at the people at the top of this post (minus Bob Dylan of course). Do you think any of them thought their vision would be accomplished in the next few years? Or even in their lifetime? I doubt it.
I challenge each and every one of you in the mission-driven sector to reflect for a minute or two. What is your vision? Does it inspire you? Does it inspire others? Are you surrounding yourself with people as committed as you are?
As you reflect on those questions, I leave you with a parting quote from Eduardo’s Presentation at MDMS 2013.
“The only thing worse than being blind, is having sight and no vision.”