Leaders tend to be known for one of two things.  The best leaders Lead by Design.

The first type of leader is known for their ability to innovate and envision the future.  They love to dream about the potential of what could be achieved and are often found brainstorming ideas.

The other type of leaders are known for their ability to create processes, structure and proficiency.  They have the ability to take a concept and understand the day to day priorities to accomplish a task.  These leaders are fond of refining processes and ensuring that deadlines are met.

In reality, we need to incorporate both of these into our leadership to be highly effective.

If we only dream about what the future could be without breaking down the steps needed to achieve it, that dream is still only an idea.  It will hold little value or impact for our team.

On the other hand, if we are so tied to the day to day and weekly priorities, we will never gain much momentum because we are too busy refining processes.  This approach feels good in the short term because you can check off the task on the To-Do List but the impact of each task is  less significant.

Leaders who want to gain momentum and impact the future of their organization must begin with Designing the Future.  They must envision what success would look like and be able to articulate where the organization needs to head.  This vision must be significant if you want stakeholders to care about the future.

Leaders must also resist the urge to hurry through the vision stage and move too quickly to the implementation stage.  When we grab hold of the first idea or possibility of where we should go, we fail to consider all the possibilities for that vision.  We leave untapped windows of opportunity on the table.

Only after fully defining our vision can we move to strategic planning on how to achieve our vision.  This stage requires us to engage our team around the vision, creating action steps, and checking for results.  With this sequence our activity will have great impact, creating a team that is energized by knowing that it is are moving towards a future that is bright.

Which type of leader are you?  Where do you need to spend your time and energy in order to create a strong balance between creating vision and implementing steps to achieving your goals?  Remember, both are needed and must be revisited often as new information is received.  Start now to Lead by Design!