Part 1 of 2
The questions that managers often ask themselves is: “What does it take to make the leap from being an efficient manger to one that can formulate a long term vision for the company”?
They may possess good people handling skills such as coaching and mentoring, have solid credentials for planning, controlling and implementing strategic plans, yet they realize that something is missing.
Vision is much more than just having good management skills and an MBA education. Managers without vision can successfully run an organization, but they will find it difficult to take the company to the next level or have their company achieve market leadership in their industry.
Recognized visionaries, such as Steve Jobs, have an inbuilt, psychological facility for going where no one else has gone. They are able to do that because they dare step over the imaginary line that stops others from making that quantum leap into a new direction.
Most managers never take the courageous step over that line, which crosses over the mental barriers of historical precedents, tradition, established ideas, and perceived market limitations.
In order to break that limiting mindset, fear, and failure thinking must be replaced by success thinking
As a designated leader of an organization, you must arrive at the realization that you can drive it further, expand products and services, and target exciting new markets. You must see that there must be a more successful way to operate the business.
It is then that you take the step and become more conscious of things that prevent you from being more successful.
Stepping bravely across those mental barriers is the path to visionary leadership. By unblocking those mental constraints that focus on fear-of-failure you can become more confident in your ability, more self-assured, and more successful.
There are certain fundamental principles that apply to make the transition to a more visionary leader. One of the key factors is making a paradigm shift.
This is a process of casting old beliefs behind and using your inherent creative process to break new ground. Not everyone will become as successful as Steve Jobs, but making a paradigm shift is within everyone’s capability.
Shedding the old paradigms
You know that you are physically different today than you were a year ago. You have only to look at a photograph or old video to recognize those changes.
But even more important are the changes in your behavior and thinking process. Some self-reflection will allow you to rapidly assess that you currently think and act somewhat differently today than in the past.
The question to ask is whether that thinking has breached the old paradigms and allowed you to achieve greater success individually and for your company. Thoughts, attitudes, and actions should change with the paradigm shift.
Every time a new discovery is made, paradigms change. What we view as possibilities also changes because of the new discovery. Understanding the power of our mental paradigms can be a life-changing, dynamic concept that opens up new vistas of personal and organizational success.
Running the hundred-meter dash under ten seconds was at one time thought to be impossible, but Carl Lewis proved that paradigm wrong. Within a few months of that new record, others were able to break the ten-second barrier with ease. The result was that a new level of performance became accepted as possible.
This concept impacts all areas of our life. When our belief system changes, our attitudes also change. Paradigms not only influences our thinking, they actually control it. All of us view the world through strong beliefs and perceptions.
These perceptions explain to us just how our own individual worlds should function. Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Edison broke away from the established thinking of their day that pervaded the field of science. Gates, Jobs, Musk did the same in business. You may never reach the stature of these exceptional innovators, but shedding the old paradigms will at least broaden your horizons.
When basic assumptions were finally challenged by visionary individuals, others followed suit in expanding their present frame of reference.
History repeats this principle of paradigms over and over. It explains our successes as well as our failures. We limit or expand ourselves according to the way we think. Believe that you can and you will; believe you can’t and you won’t.
Your mental paradigm powerfully controls your actions, feelings, behavior, and abilities. Your performance will not exceed the limits you unconsciously place on yourself.
Putting pressure on yourself to go beyond your set mental paradigm causes stress, discomfort, and disorientation. But those are good stresses to have. The old adage to think outside the box is inevitably controlled by your existing beliefs.
There is a positive aspect of our mental paradigms, though. Paradigms are useful to us. They help us to establish balance and stability in our lives. They contribute to our feelings of comfort and security. When these paradigms are challenged we sometimes become disoriented.
When our paradigms are threatened, or when we receive information that conflicts with our well-established beliefs, we usually react in these three ways:
- We completely shut out the information if it conflicts with our established paradigm.
- We aggressively attempt to attack its credibility.
- If somehow the evident truth of the new information forces a paradigm shift then we go through some discomfort, stress, and dissonance.
This feeling of discomfort opens the door to visionary leadership. Fear of the unknown or of reaching beyond our mental paradigms can at first be paralyzing.
However, we must push through our natural discomfort zone and look outside our current beliefs to expand the possibilities. It is then that we visualize and think creatively.
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