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Creating Vision: A Core Competency for All Leaders

Published July 01, 2021

By Nancy Lamberton, Facilitator and Leadership Coach, The Nebo Company 

The pandemic, along with the need for racial equity and justice in our systems, have challenged all leaders – including those in nursing academia – to rapidly adapt to ever-changing priorities and issues.  With so much uncertainty and volatility, many leaders focused on shorter term strategies and tactics, in order to get through the storm in one whole piece.  But now that we are emerging out of that storm, the need to create and articulate a vision for the future is a priority for most leaders.  

Being able to create a vision for the future is a critical competency for all leaders, especially those seeking transformative outcomes. Staff, faculty, students and other stakeholders expect leaders “to set a vision that captures people’s imagination and provides inspiration, to engage [them] in meaningful work, and to set the tone for the way people are treated and valued.”*

That can feel like a tall order. Many leaders share that they don’t consider themselves to be visionary. A good place to start is understanding what a powerful vision looks like. 

10 Hallmarks of a Powerful Vision**

1.    Mission-driven
2.    Values-based
3.    Forward-looking and engaging
4.    Provides picture of a positive future
5.    Has historical context and relevance in the present day
6.    Is stated in the present tense
7.    Inspires 
8.    Invites others to be part of it
9.    Aspirational AND achievable
10.    Set in the foreseeable future

Becoming visionary is a competency that can be developed.  It requires the leader to shift from reactive, issues-of-the-day behaviors to a purposeful focus on the future -- what we want to become, the difference we want to make, and how we will work together to accomplish those results. 

Imagine the future! Take that bold step and see how it inspires and engages others to join in.

*Mastering Leadership by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams (2016)
**">On Visionary Leadership," by Katherine Ebner, CEO and Founder, The Nebo Company 

Take the Next Step with AACN's MentorLINK 

If you are an AACN Member Dean/Director, it is easier than ever to be connected to other deans to help navigate today's rapidly changing and complex world of nursing academics. AACN signature virtual mentoring program MentorLINK offers an  8-month experience designed for deans, combining one-on-one mentoring, cohort learning, and webinars on the latest in leadership development topics.  Learn more by watching the informational webinar.

The deadline for the next cohort is August 31, 2021. Sign up now!

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