The prime responsibility of the leader is to provide the vision and mission of the enterprise – whether it be a business or an organization. Sometimes the job is to create it. Sometimes it is inherited and the task is to foster it and in some cases refine it. More than anything the leader is accountable for it.
A major responsibility is not only to define the values but to be able to articulate them. An organization needs to become even more of what it is. It is easy on a day to day basis to become deeply mired in administrivia, but the leader always has to commit us to our highest purpose – one that always seems just beyond our reach. If the purpose and the principles are right, the rest will follow.
Cardinal Newman was not the best marketer of change. Fewer people all the time sing the words of his hymn, “Change and decay in all around I see”, but the link between change and decay has stuck – especially in the heads of those who were old enough to ever sing the words. But we don’t go backwards. Instead we have to focus on the impact of our actions for future generations and manage for the innovative and diverse world we now inhabit.
When we redefine change as creativity, some will respond positively. It is not enough to think that we can stop with making problems go away. We might have nothing left. and it is not so much what the vision is but what the vision does. We need to encourage tangible prototypes and build positive results that become stepping stones to the next stage.