General Ann Dunwoody: Creating A Vision That Leads To Success
Guest Blog Post Written By General Ann Dunwoody
What if every person in your organization was committed to its success? What if you could craft a vision in which every person could see themselves? What if you had the ability to create a high performing organization that people wanted to be part of? I think you would be a very successful leader, and I can help you reach that goal.
It’s all about leadership—whether you are on the battlefield or in the boardroom, a man or a woman, young or old, on Main Street or Wall Street, or at a non-profit or in corporate America. Leaders make all the difference.
From leading change to leading the way, developing the bench to organizing the bench, building your team to rightsizing it, having it all to having what you want, or going along for the ride to leading the charge—a high performing organization is one that does routine things in an outstanding manner, and one good leader can make all the difference in achieving a high performance culture.
The leader sets the tone. The leader establishes what we in the military call the “command climate.” It means having the personal courage to lead change, which, by its very definition, is doing something new and necessary to remain on the cutting edge or doing something to try and remain relevant. While change can be risky and even scary for organizations, failure to adapt and change is catastrophic. While it is scary for leaders, it is even scarier for those you are leading. Always imagine what is going through the heads of the people you are leading.
Every organization has room to grow and get better. Every organization has opportunities to be better postured for the future. Lewis Carrol, the author of the book, Alice in Wonderland, rather eloquently pointed out that if you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there. *
This is where the importance of visioning comes in. A leader’s vision is like fine music when thoughtfully communicated to his or her team. It acts as a uniting force that serves as a beacon for the entire organization. It becomes the heartbeat of the organization and drives the prioritization of resources, people, time, money, and training. The vision has to be a living document that leaders can change and modify as the conditions change, and every single person in the organization has to be able to “see themselves” in it. Having everyone understand his or her role in making the vision a reality is the only hope of accomplishing it.
It sounds simple, but it is not. If it was then we’d all be “doing it,” and there would be no room for improvement.
One thing that is absolutely sure, though, is that people want to be part of a high performing organization. They want to be proud of what they and their organization are doing. As leaders, we want to help each individual in our work force reach their full potential and help every organization we touch be more successful and better than when we joined it. We want to develop high performing individuals and high performing organizations!
* [Says Alice to the Cheshire cat] “Would you tell me, please which way I ought to walk from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where–” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat. “—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
About General Ann Dunwoody
General Ann Dunwoody is the former commanding general of one of the Army’s largest commands, the US Army Materiel Command. She is the first woman in US military history to achieve a four-star officer rank, and US Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called her “quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever had.” She shares her field-tested insights and lessons on leadership and driving peak performance. She believes that good leadership is in finding your passion and helps her audience understand how to tap into that desire and ability to inspire. Leadership is about communicating a vision and earning buy-in from your subordinates—not directives and authority, and Dunwoody shares the unique perspective of the military’s most successful woman ever. Learn more about General Ann Dunwoody here.
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