You Don’t Have to Be CEO to Be a Visionary Leader - Lloyd Emerson Johnson

Insights from Leaders
2 min readSep 21, 2021
Lloyd Emerson Johnson

Building a vision for an organization is a basic skill for an executive leader. A clear inspiring vision can create unification in an organization, a common goal, and a common focus for the future. Unfortunately, building and implementing the said vision is often seen as the responsibility of an organization's top-tier leadership. However, aspiring leaders too should take initiative.

I recently read an article published in the Harvard Business Review, You Don’t Have to Be CEO to Be a Visionary Leader, by Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville. This article resonated with me because as a creative visionary, I believe that everyone must have their own vision, goal, and unique perspective. That is the only way an organization can thrive — if everyone feels responsible and wishes to grow individually and collectively.

The article highlights three critical vision-creation opportunities that aspiring leaders can grasp.

1. Contributing to senior leaders’ vision work

“Crafting a vision requires a certain element of seeing into the future. But good senior leaders know they are missing critical information: they are far removed from customer experiences, operational realities, and the hopes and dreams of people working for them. Tapping the insights and experiences of others who will be touched by the work can help senior executives achieve that sense of connection, and many institutionalize the gathering of these kinds of ideas”

2. Translating the company’s vision for your team

“Even if you don’t have a chance to help shape the “early drafts” of your company’s vision if you are a leader at any level of the organization you will likely be called upon to work with your team to translate that vision for your particular unit or function. This in itself is vision-crafting, albeit at a smaller scale.”

3. Developing a new front-line team vision that can be cascaded up through the company

“Sometimes a new company vision doesn’t begin with a CEO and instead, bubbles up from the visions that lower-level leaders use to drive innovation and change in their own units.”

Read the original article here.



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