A Leader Must Have a Vision

In the Ability to Lead, I quoted Warren Bennis who says, The Lone Ranger is dead.  In order to lead a Great Group, a leader need not possess all the individual skills of the group members.  What he or she must have are vision, the ability to rally the others, and integrity….

A Regional Director is discussing the thrust and directions of the office to her staff.

Visualizing what you want and wish to happen as if it already exists, opens the door to letting it happen.  A leader must have a vision to effectively set priorities and keep people focused and motivated.

Jim Clemmer says, Give it a strong, clear picture of what you want and this creative power starts to work magnetizing conditions about you — attracting to you the things, resources, opportunities, circumstances and even the people you need, to help bring to pass in your outer life what you have pictured . . . what you picture in your mind, if you picture it clearly and confidently and persistently enough, will eventually come to pass in your life . . .

That’s how powerful a vision is to a leader.  What you are thinking and imagining will usually happen, especially if you act on it.

“Soon after the completion of Disney World someone said, ‘Isn’t it too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see this’. I replied, ‘He did see it – that’s why it’s here’.”
– Mike Vance, creative director, Walt Disney Studios

Disney World was created based of Walt Disney’s strong vision of how it shall look like.

A leader’s vision gives hope to the people especially in times of crisis, stress and difficulty and in state of confusion and despair.  As a leader, you must know where you are going.   Hesburgh says that you can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.

Where there is no vision, there is no hope.
George Washington Carver

I’m inviting you to share your ideas and opinions on the role of a vision to a leader by leaving your comments below this article.  I love to hear from you.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Three Ways to Develop Relationships with the People You Lead

In the article, Leaders Must Touch the Heart , I quoted these words by John Maxwell, One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to lead others before developing relationships with them.  It happens all the time.  A new manager starts with a company and expects the people working there to respond to his authority without question…the leader expects to make an impact on his people before building the relationship.  It’s possible that the followers will comply with what the leader’s position requires, but they’ll never go beyond that.

To succeed in business, never take people for granted.  Zig Ziglar says, The reality is, regardless of what business we’re in, since it is fueled by people, we are all in the people business.


Having a Sportsfest is one way of developing relationships with people.

Develop relationships with the people you lead through:

1.  Genuine Courtesy. People are delicate and sensitive.   They want to feel important.  Greet your people with a smile and don’t forget the words please and thank you.

Even the little courtesies that we give to them are important.

2.  Respect. Be punctual because punctuality is respect for other people’s time.  Listening is one of the greatest expressions of respect.  Listen to what others are saying and respond only after he finishes his statements.

3.  Appreciation for them and for their point of view

People want to feel valued and cared about.  Appreciate them for their hard work and contribution to the success of any project.  Be specific in your appreciation.  Give praises for their point of view and suggestions for the success of the organization.  Give them small gifts occasionally, as a token of appreciation.

In the book, The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner say, Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow.  It’s the quality of this relationship that matters most when we’re engaged in getting extraordinary things done.  A leader-constituent relationship that’s characterized by fear and distrust will never, ever produce anything of lasting value.  A relationship characterized by mutual respect and confidence will overcome the greatest adversities and leave a legacy of significance.

Public Allies, an AmeriCorps organization dedicated to creating young leaders who can strengthen their communities, sought the opinions of eighteen- to thirty-year-olds on the subject of leadership.  One of the questions was about the important qualities of a good leader.  Topping the respondents’ list is “Being able to see a situation from someone else’s point of view.”  In second place is “Getting along well with other people.”

I shall be very glad if you could leave your comments after reading this article.  I love to hear from you.

Your friend,

Nimia S. Acebes 

Focusing on Costs as an Area which Needs Improvement

In my  article on How to Know What Areas Need Improvement , the first guide that I give is to focus on costs.

The article stresses that whatever your organization is, whether you are operating for profit or with a budget, like a government agency, the good result of initiating with a cost reduction is great.

This doesn’t mean that we eliminate necessary services, such as income-generating activity, in order to reduce costs.  It means producing more products and services for every amount that the organization spends.

You must analyze and act assertively on how the present operating expenses can produce more products and services or  how the same volume or products and services can be produced at lesser costs.

A manager’s basic function is to get the work done, but certainly not at any cost.  Finding ways to improve your operations with better, less wasteful methods is as important a contribution to your company as meeting production quotas and schedules.  Here’s how to balance the two areas of responsibility:

*  Use Time Well. Wasted time is one of the costliest elements in any operation.  A manager can cut this waste by engaging the right equipment, the right materials and the right people at the right time.  Time is the essential element.  The lack of any factor at the right time holds up the job and increases costs.  Learn these facts about each operation:  how long it takes, how many people are needed, how the work flows from station to station, and the capacity of each station.

*  Coordinate Correctly. After determining just what has to be done, where, and by whom, each step must be coordinated.  Proper coordination can eliminate waiting for assignments or supplies, cut down chasing time for information or materials, and assure optimum use of workers and equipment.

*  Insure Proper Work Flow. Sometimes poor work flow just sort of grows from a lack of any real planning.  Improper work flow results in uneven workloads and unproductive waiting time.  Don’t let time-wasting bad habits develop into accepted procedures.

*  Schedule Carefully. Any kind of bottleneck adds to costs, but you can avoid some of them with proper scheduling.  Even the occasional rush job should not throw off your schedule if you have padded in a little extra time for the inevitable emergencies.  If you don’t need the time, you don’t have to use it.  But if you do need it, using it won’t create excessive costs.

*  Use Manpower Efficiently. Failing to use available manpower to the fullest potential is always the costliest item of doing business.  Target these areas of waste:

–        Using more workers on a job than are actually needed.

–        Not having enough workers on a job, resulting in unnecessary overtime.

–        Using highly paid, skilled workers on jobs that lower paid workers can do.

–        Failure to use skilled workers in their specialties for reasons of day-to-day expediency.

–        Failure to give adequate on-the-job training.

–        Not policing the overtime.  Is it really necessary or would realistic scheduling help reduce it?

As good executive, you shall act as role model in terms of cost reduction. According to John Maxwell, When they need to cut cost, many executives will sacrifice employees ahead of their own corporate perks. They see their OWN picture instead of the big picture. I believe that a leader should not ask others to make sacrifices until he’s made some himself. A good employee is simply too valuable to let go without exhausting other options.

If you have any other cost reduction ideas to include in this list, I shall be very glad to hear from you.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes