“A plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.” Proverbs 20:5
The writer of that Proverb reminds us of the importance of having knowledge in regard to moving one’s plans out of the deep recesses of the heart to the surface where those plans can be carried out. Generally, the first step in seeing those plans carried out involves some level of vision casting. A lot of people have great vision. However, many great God-given dreams die in the vision-casting stage. You'll never see your vision become a reality unless you can communicate it well to others.
And because vision has a tendency to leak, leaders are having to continually cast it. However, there are certain seasons that I believe casting vision is absolutely crucial.
Here’s are some examples of a few of those seasons:
- If your organization is about to go through some sort of major transition (nobody likes change but most change is resisted because it’s not tied to vision).
- If you’re about to attempt to raise money.
- If you’re growing fast and adding a lot of new people to the mix.
Some leaders are just natural vision casters- it almost just oozes out of them. Other leaders (like myself) have to work at it.
Over the years, the most important lesson I've learned about vision is this: Test it on a few before you cast it to many.
If I know I've got an important vision casting talk or meeting coming up, I'll intentionally set up a handful of one-on-one meetings to lay out the vision in a much smaller atmosphere. And then I do two things:
1) As I'm casting the vision to them, I read their body language. What makes them squirm? What makes their eyes sparkle? At what point do they lean across the table wanting to hear more? While the vision is the vision, how I say it and the order in which I say it is important and I often readjust quite a bit just by watching people in these test environments.
2) After I cast the vision, I shut up and listen. The questions they ask are like gold to me. Why? Because it's the same questions everyone listening to my vision casting are going to ask the next time I make this presentation. Once someone has serious doubts about something that I've said or have a question pop up in their mind, they often become so focused on that question that they completely miss the rest of the presentation. Being able to answer those questions inside the presentation before they get asked becomes key to the success of the next presentation.
Vision is exciting. And as a leader, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and skip over these crucial steps in communication. But if you do your due diligence in the preparation, the energy of your teams and execution of the matter at hand will be much more inspired and effective.