If you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather expect too much than expect too little? A small vision of what’s possible limits you. When Daniel Burnham famously said, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood…,” he was pointing out that the size of the motivation is often directly proportional to the size of the undertaking. Little visions create little motivation.
It can be scary to think bigger. No leader wants to think unrealistically, but I believe more leaders are limited by their thinking too small than by overreaching. My friend Erwin McManus says it well: If you’re big enough for your dream, your dream isn’t big enough for you.
2. Increase your learning.
The wider your intellectual bandwidth, the greater your leadership potential. Ideas and the ability to act upon them are the fuel of those who lead large.
What one skill, if you mastered it, would create the greatest payoff in your life? What does your team most need to learn to power up their performance? What original sources of information and ideas can you find to get you out of the mainstream of common thought that produces only common results?
3. Narrow your focus.
No matter how big the vision, you can only truly concentrate on one important thing at a time. Distraction is a killer of accomplishment. The danger isn’t just in trying to do too much, but in trying to do too much at one time.
Rid yourself of the obsession to do the trite, easy and expedient. Instead, focus on those activities, relationships and events that will move you most quickly to achieving your vision.
4. Improve your team.
Leaders frequently quote Proverbs: Without a vision the people perish. Less often considered is that without people the vision perishes. You will be as successful as the people who work with you. Have you surrounded yourself with the right people? Are they clear on the vision? Have you created shared focus for each team member so he or she isn’t wasting time on the insignificant?
5. Enjoy the process.
If you’re not having fun in your leadership journey, those around you probably aren’t either. There are always challenges and difficulties–and dealing with them is a big part of what leadership is about–but focusing on your strengths, opportunities and the people who matter will keep you grounded and prevent you from burning out.
Living large isn’t just about wealth and affluence, but attitude and orientation. When you live large, enjoying the people, opportunities and activities around you, you lead larger, too.
Great article. Surrounding yourself with the right people is particularly important if you’re asking those people to stretch, to re-imagine, to innovate and/or to commit to a new vision. You must, however, be mindful about how your own speech and actions reflect on those objectives and how they support or detract from the team effort.