Leaders of character: people who can advocate excellence

Leaders of character describe a compelling picture of what the future could look like and appeal to others to share in that future success. Speaking with clarity and confidence they generate commitment and enthusiasm for a shared vision or cause and illustrate for others how their ambitions can be realised. They set high standards for people to live up to by painting pictures of what excellence looks like and encouraging others to work towards that picture.

You will doubtless have heard that, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. Probably not helpful advice to take too literally (!) but it does align to the idea that visualisation is a key tool, employed by the highest performers, in all sorts of fields, from sports through acting to the military. ‘Seeing’ a future state builds a sense that something is achievable and provides a sense of certainty that would otherwise be missing. The sense of confidence gained from such clarity, in turn makes ‘going for it’ engaging rather than anxiety-inducing. 


Building a mental picture removes many of the unknowns and allows you to plan for success. The richer the picture, the better able you and your team will be able to absorb and own the vision that you have created. The most effective visioning with high levels of sensory detail has even resulted in athletes increasing their physical strength during experiments, without them even going into a gym! 

Share the vision building

Anita Roddick, inspirational founder and leader of the Body Shop International plc, declared that only you can see your vision. She makes a really important point: Only you can see your vision as you see it and if you remain in a locked room and create your leadership vision in isolation, your team will probably not ‘get it’. It will be something so unique to you that you will have difficulty sharing that effectively with others. 


Engage as many people as you can practically, in the creation of your team’s vision. Spend time on it. A vision is not something achieved on a ‘team away day’. It often takes many iterations and refinements. However, the clearer your Purpose, the easier you will find creating your vision for what you are trying to achieve


Should your vision be specific, measurable etc etc (yawn!) or big, hairy and audacious. That’s ultimately your shout but in our experience it takes the same amount of planning and commitment to achieve something that is “meh” as it does to ‘go big’. We want you to make this vision your life’s work in service of you fulfilling your very purpose of living. Therefore we suggest you make your vision so compelling that you and your team are simultaneously massively excited and scared witless in almost equal measure!

Do now

1. Get your team together. Put your purpose onto a large sheet of paper and tape it to the wall. Now spend a decent amount of time designing a vision that will enable you to fulfil your purpose. 

2. Once you have a vision of what success for your team looks like, make it as rich and as detail-laden as you can. The greater detail you provide the more likelihood there is that all of your team will be inspired by it. 

3. When you think you have created a significant vision, demand of yourselves that you make it 10-20% more challenging. 


At Performance Edge we can help you create powerful, performance enhancing visions of excellence with your teams. Result: huge leaps forward, consistently over time. If that sounds good to you, contact us here


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John Lewis
Little Hearts Matter