Simon Sinek defines vision as “the ability to talk about the future with such clarity it is as if we are talking about the past”. I like this definition because it demystifies a concept that has been unnecessarily muddied by leadership literature. Vision is a necessary building block in every school including those of the affluent and high achieving variety. A lack of vision stagnates the organization by undermining innovation and change efforts that could positively impact the learners.
Steve Jobs famously stated “if you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you”. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team and educators are no exception. The problem is not that educators don’t have the will to win, but rather they are competing in a sport where the only rule is that the rules will change. We cannot allow our schools to focus solely on federal and state mandates which are guarantees to fluctuate. Instead, we must dream together of a compelling future and make it our North Star.
Educators realize in the words of Albert Einstein that “not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts”. It is our job as leaders to define what success looks like in a way that is meaningful and not subject to political whims. We are after all in the business of building people, not robots. We must not become destracted from what is most important by the tyranny of what is urgent. Great leaders are vision casters who think beyond mandates and barriers to accomplish what others think impossible.