In the workshop I met with a group of leaders and gave them a worksheet with these questions: What is a vision? When have you been directly exposed to someone with a vision? What was unusual about the person? When in your life have you committed to bring about a vision? What happened? When a person has a vision, how does it change the daily life experience? What vision do you have right now?
After the participants filled out the worksheet, I asked the above questions and listened. The early discussion focused on the notion that a vision is a perceived end state, it is something you see in the future.
One man then said, thoughtfully and confidently, a vision is a future state that already exists. This strange sentence caught our attention, it seemed contradictory. How can the future already exist? According to my left brain logic, the present and future are two different categories. The future cannot already exist.
Yet in the mind of leaders this is true. Michelangelo, for example, stated: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
A visionary is simultaneously living in the future and the present. The vision is real. The present is real. They are different realities which must become one. The visionary is the force that connects the future and present. The visionary examines the future and the present and acts so as to bring the two realities together though the constant examination of feedback and constant recommitment.
- What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
- When you examine your unit, do you see an existing future reality?
- Can you hold the future and present as simultaneous realities and, from the tension, learn your way into the realization of potential?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?