It’s a shared look at the future, and it is a future filled with hope and promise.
If your future looks bright, make sure your team knows about it. Tell the story of how you achieved all this, thank the people who helped you get there.
If on the other hand your company’s immediate future is bleak you can still encourage vision, but you have to creatively and courageously tell stories. I’ve been through this kind of thing at work, and we did come out stronger.
Unfortunately I can’t tell that story.Â Fortunately I thought of an even better story to articulate this idea of vision.
In a country where segregation was the law of the land, and racial hate was rampant Martin Luther King Jr, continued to tell the story of a future where people would no longer be judged by the color of their skin.Â He continued to tell these stories in the face of economic hardship, and in under the the constant threat of assassination, and with the memory of attacks on his family still burned deeply into his memory.Â It is context thatÂ Martin Luther King Jr. made one of his most powerful speeches to his battle weary friends and followers:
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead.
But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop…
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.
If you are faced with a Death March style project, the only thing you can do is to hold out a vision for a better future and do everything in your power to make that happen. You can’t ignore the present, you can’t ignore the grueling overtime, the unrealistic deadlines, or the managerial mistakes that got you here — if you do nobody will listen to you, nobody will respect what you have to say.Â Instead, you have to demonstrate that you have or can come up with a plan to get out of the desert into the promised land.Â Â Compelling vision begins with the hard truth of today, but holds up an achievable hope for tomorrow.