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The most powerful thing

Ken Blanchard told me he’s having the 51st anniversary of his 21st birthday tomorrow (May 6, 2011). Happy Birthday Ken!

Ask him if he plans to retire and he’ll joyfully scoff, “I’m not retired, I’m refired!” We talked for over an hour and I think he gathered steam as the conversation progressed.

Ken’s jubilant energy exuded through the phone when he said, “Nothing is more powerful than vision.” One thing is certain; vision powers his engine from stem to stern. Perhaps lack of vision is one reason many lose vitality?

Ken explained five reasons vision is vital.

  1. Vision is the starting point of leadership.
  2. Vision determines direction. Leadership is about going somewhere. If you aren’t going somewhere, your leadership style doesn’t matter.
  3. Vision is something to serve. Without vision, the only thing left to serve is yourself. Visionless organizations will eventually be led by self-serving leaders.
  4. Vision overcomes the power of criticism. Without vision squeaky wheels control organizations.
  5. Vision creates unity. Without vision you can’t get on the same team.

A frightening and sad observation.

Ken and coauthor Jesse Stoner wrote, “Full Steam Ahead: Unleashing the Power of Vision in your Work and Your Life.” In it they say, “Less than 10% of the organizations we visited are led by managers who have a clear sense of where they are trying to lead people.”

Reread the five reasons vision is vital and realize that 90% of the organizations they visited don’t enjoy the benefits of vision.

One more thing.

I think vision fuels youthful, exuberant energy. I’m not letting the cat out of the bag when I say Ken Blanchard doesn’t have to work for a living. However, he’s one of the most energized people I’ve talked with.


Do you have vision? How has it impacted your life and leadership?


Blanchard and Stoner’s book, “Full Steam Ahead” is one of my favorite books.
Purchase it by May 6 and all profits from sales go to “Give Kids the World.”
Purchase Full Steam Ahead on Amazon
(uncompensated endorsement)

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